Eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar is violating Libya’s truce and cannot be expected to respect the ceasefire between his forces and pro-government troops, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said.
Despite efforts by Turkey and Russia, Haftar abandoned ceasefire talks in Moscow earlier this month and his blockade of Libyan oilfields overshadowed a summit in Berlin last week aimed at a permanent truce.
His Libyan National Army (LNA) faction aims to capture Tripoli with the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russian mercenaries and African troops.
Turkey backs Fayez al-Serraj’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
Fighting abated in the past weeks but picked up at the weekend in southern Tripoli, where artillery fire was heard, a Reuters reporter said. More than 150 000 people have been displaced by fighting.
Speaking before leaving for Algeria, Erdogan said Haftar forces repeatedly violated the ceasefire, adding international support for the LNA was “spoiling” Haftar.
“At this point, we need to see clearly what Haftar’s identity is. He is a man who betrayed his superiors before as well,” Erdogan said. “It is not possible to expect mercy and understanding from someone like this.”
“He’s continuing attacks with all his resources. He will not be successful here.”
Turkey repeatedly said Haftar must choose a political solution and urged foreign powers to press him into a truce. It also sent military advisers and trainers to help the GNA fend off Haftar’s assault.
Ankara will abide by a United Nations arms embargo on Libya as long as the ceasefire is maintained, but could deploy troops if necessary.
Erdogan did not expect a result from the committee due to Haftar’s stance.
Turkey, the UAE, Egypt, Russia and western countries agreed in Berlin to uphold an existing arms embargo. The UN mission in Libya said cargo flights bringing advanced weapons, trucks and fighters from countries at the summit landed in western and eastern Libya.