AA / Tunis / Majdi Ismail
Turkey is present militarily in Libya as a “force for stability”, the spokesperson for the Presidency of the Turkish Republic, Ibrahim Kalin, pointed out on Saturday.
Turkey’s official position comes the day after the request formulated by French President Emmanuel Macron against Ankara and Moscow to withdraw their “mercenaries” from Libya without delay.
“Our allies sometimes tend to raise this issue as if the Turkish presence is the main problem in Libya, when it is not. We are there as a force of stability in support of the Libyan people ”, declared the spokesperson for the Turkish Presidency.
At the end of an international conference on Libya held in Paris on Friday, the tenant of the Élysée Palace had declared at a press conference that “a first step was taken with the announcement yesterday of the withdrawal of 300 mercenaries ”, in the service of the retired general, Khalifa Haftar.
And Macron added “but this is only the beginning: Turkey and Russia must also withdraw without delay their mercenaries and their military forces, whose presence threatens the stability and security of the country and the entire region” .
Ibrahim Kalin observed that “the Turkish military is in Libya under an agreement with the Libyan government. They cannot therefore be put on the same level as mercenaries who are taken from other countries ”.
The spokesperson for the Turkish presidency questioned the seriousness of the efforts of Western countries to force the withdrawal of the Russian private security company “Wagner” from Libya. “There is the presence of ‘Wagner’ and Russian mercenaries there. I don’t know if our friends and allies in Europe are concretely broaching this subject with Russia or if they are really making a serious and concerted effort to get “Wagner” out of Libya? ”He asked.
The work of the international conference on Libya in Paris began on Friday, with the participation of some thirty countries and organizations, including neighboring countries and others who are divided over this conflict.
The conference aims to have Libyan elections held on schedule, by the end of the year, and to support Libya’s demand for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.
According to the final declaration, the leaders meeting in Paris, threatened to impose sanctions on individuals, who inside or outside Libya “would attempt to take any action likely to hinder or call into question the elections scheduled in this country on December 24, 2021 ”.
Participants in the conference co-chaired by France alongside Libya, Germany, Italy, and the United Nations, also raised the need to support the efforts of the Libyan High Electoral Commission (HNC) to organize the double ballot.
They also called for the first legislative and presidential elections in the country’s history to be “free, fair, inclusive and credible”, and stressed the need to fight terrorism in Libya “by all means”.
The militia of the retired general, Khalifa Haftar, announced Thursday in a statement, relayed by the Libyan newspaper “Al-Marsad”, its intention to expel a first contingent of 300 mercenaries who fight in its ranks in Libya and send them back to their countries.
The Russian private security group “Wagner” has supported Haftar’s militia by supplying them with mercenaries and military equipment, since the retired general launched his offensive against Tripoli on April 4, 2019.
On November 4, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced an agreement to establish an effective communication and coordination mechanism to expel combatants, mercenaries and foreign forces from the Arab country.
The Libyan Mixed Military Commission (5 + 5) approved on October 8 in Geneva an action plan for the gradual withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign fighters from the country.
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