French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey’s president of breaking promises made at a conference on Libya after Turkish warships and Syrian fighters arrived in the north African country.
“I want to express my concerns with regard to the behaviour of Turkey, which is in complete contradiction with what President Tayyip Erdogan committed to at the Berlin conference,” Macron told a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Macron’s comments came a week after the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia – which all back eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar – and Turkey – which backs the government in Tripoli – agreed with Western powers in Berlin to push for a lasting ceasefire and uphold an arms embargo.
Since then there has been an uptick in fighting with Haftar’s Libyan National Army attempting to open a new front by moving forces toward Misrata in the west.
Pictures not verified by Reuters on social media appeared to show Turkish warships off the coast of Libya on Wednesday.
Macron confirmed the presence of Turkish ships and accused Ankara of violating Libya’s sovereignty and endangering European and West African security.
“We have seen Turkish warships accompanied by Syrian mercenaries arrive on Libyan soil. This is an explicit and serious infringement of what was agreed in Berlin. It’s a broken promise.”
Without naming them, the United Nations on January 25 said several countries backing rival factions in Libya violated the arms embargo since Berlin.
It said cargo planes of advanced weapons, armoured vehicles, advisers and fighters arrived at Libyan airports, risking “plunging the country into a renewed and intensified round of fighting”.
Macron made no mention of violations fro, other countries except NATO ally Turkey.
Paris is accused of supporting Haftar politically having previously providing military assistance to fight Islamist militants. France denies backing Haftar.