Turkey’s Erdogan accuses UAE of financing mercenaries in Libya

Turkey’s Erdogan accuses UAE of financing mercenaries in Libya

According to the Turkish leader, the United Arab Emirates is not only providing financial assistance but also "supplying arms and armaments".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is providing financial support for mercenaries who are allegedly aiding Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in Libya, he told reporters aboard the presidential aircraft on his way from Algeria to The Gambia, NTV released excerpts from the interview on Tuesday.

"During German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Turkey, we thoroughly discussed this topic (situation in Libya - TASS)," Erdogan said. "[We told them that] Haftar is a liar and you enable pandering to this liar. Egypt is the key [Haftar’s] supporter as well as authorities in Abu Dhabi," he claimed.

According to the Turkish leader, the United Arab Emirates is not only providing financial assistance but also "supplying arms and armaments."

Currently, Libya has two supreme executive authorities, namely Tripoli’s Government of National Accord recognized by the international community and headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and the interim government headed by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, which operates in the country’s east along with the elected parliament and is supported by the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. On April 4, Haftar announced the launch of an offensive in Tripoli to eliminate the terrorist groups that got hold there. In turn, Sarraj ordered all military units loyal to him to gear up to defend the capital, while the armed units in the capital launched operation dubbed ‘Volcano of Rage’ to fight back. The conflict led to death of hundreds of people and destruction of vital infrastructure facilities, while thousands of Libyans were forced to flee their homes. On December 12, Haftar announced that his troops are beginning "the decisive battle for the capital" to "free it from the terrorists." The GNA mobilized all troops loyal to it to defend Tripoli, officially appealing to Turkey for help based on a memorandum of military cooperation signed in late November.

The international high-level conference on Libya took place on January 19 in the German capital, with at least ten heads of states and governments attending the event including Russian President Vladimir Putin. The talks were also visited by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as representatives of Algeria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and China. Moreover, Berlin also welcomed Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Sarraj, and Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander Khalifa Haftar. The conference’s final communique includes a call to ceasefire, refrain from intervening into Libya’s affairs, while it also proposes creation of a single government and launch of reforms to restore statehood that was demolished by NATO almost ten years ago.

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