Turkish foreign minister says US needs to play a more active role in Libya: report

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PHOTO: The Independent

The United States needs to play a more active role in Libya, both in achieving a ceasefire and in political talks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday, as Libya’s warring sides restarted UN-led ceasefire talks, according to Reuters.

Turkey supports Fayez al-Sarraj’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), whose forces have in recent weeks repelled a 14-month assault on Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

The LNA is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia. While Washington has said it opposes Haftar’s offensive, it has not thrown its support behind the GNA. It has also lambasted Russian involvement in support of Haftar.

Çavuşoğlu said the involvement of the United States, a NATO ally, was important to protect the alliance’s interests, adding that Turkish and US officials would discuss possible steps, as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed during a call on Monday.

“For some reason, the United States has not been that active in Libya, perhaps because of past traumas,” Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with broadcaster NTV.

“The United States needs to play a more active role, both for achieving a ceasefire and in the political process.”

On Wednesday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the resumption of UN-led talks between Libya’s warring sides and urged speedy negotiations to achieve a ceasefire, as a new round of talks began after the GNA’s rapid gains.

Çavuşoğlu, who dismissed a ceasefire proposal by Egypt as an attempt to save Haftar after losses on the battlefield, said on Thursday that only a lasting ceasefire under UN auspices would be acceptable.

Trump also discussed Libya with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday, with the two leaders considering ways to resume UN ceasefire talks and the departure of all foreign forces from Libya.

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