Turkey and Russian presidents discuss Libya’s unending conflict

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday about the ongoing conflict in Libya, state news agency Anadolu said, without further information.

Speaking by phone, Messrs Erdogan and Putin addressed “the crisis in Libya and regional issues,” said Anadolu. The report would not comment on the conversation’s nature.

The phone talk emerges hours after Mr Erdogan met in Istanbul Fayez Serraj, head of the Tripoli-based, United Nations-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA).

In a meeting late Friday, according to Anadolu, Mr Erdogan reaffirmed Ankara’s backing for Serraj’s “legitimate” government.

Mr Erdogan called on the rival Libyan National Army (LNA) head of Khalifa Haftar to end his activities.

A ban on flights between Libya and Turkey was announced last week by the self-styled LNA, which accuses Turkey of offering military assistance to the GNA.

It said that Turkish ships and aircraft were “legitimate targets” for their forces.

Mr Haftar’s forces released six Turkish nationals on Monday after Turkey threatened action.

Mr Haftar is suspected to be receiving assistance from Russia, while his primary allies are believed to be Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar and Turkey are suspected to be giving support the Serraj government.

Mr Haftar had instructed his troops to capture the capital in April and violence has escalated since there has been no significant progress on either side.

The GNA blamed Mr Haftar for an air strike at a detention center near Tripoli on Wednesday, leaving huge numbers of people dead or wounded. (dpa/NAN)

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