Libya : Turkey Urged To Withdraw Troops

Libya’s Foreign Minister made the declaration in Tripoli during a joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Libya’s Foreign Minister, Najla al-Manqoush has called for the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya as it heads toward elections later this year. On Monday, May 3, 2021, the top diplomat of the interim government urged Turkey to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding the repatriation of more than 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya. Her remarks came during a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was visiting the capital Tripoli alongside Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and other top military and intelligence officials.  “We call on Turkey to take steps to implement all the provisions of the Security Council resolutions and to cooperate together to expel all foreign forces and mercenaries from the Libyan territories,” she said.

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Mevlut Cavusoglu responded by saying that Turkish forces were in Libya as part of a training agreement that was reached with a previous Libya administration. Turkey has been closely involved in Libya, backing the UN-recognized Government of National Accord based in Tripoli that controlled the west of the country, against the offensive by Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army. They sent military supplies and fighters to Libya, helping to tilt the balance of power in favour of the Tripoli government and also signed an agreement with the Tripoli-based government delineating the maritime boundaries between the two countries in the Mediterranean, triggering protests from Greece and Cyprus. Both countries denounced the agreement, saying it was a serious breach of international law that disregarded the rights of other eastern Mediterranean countries. 

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Security Council diplomats have said there are more than 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya, including 13,000 Syrians and 11,000 Sudanese, along with Russians and Chadians. The United Nations Security Council’s 15-member nations agreed in an informal meeting last week that getting the foreign fighters and mercenaries to go home was the only way forward to enable the interim government that took over in March to prepare for serene general elections in December 24, 2021.

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