Haftar, his backers biggest obstacle to peace in Libya: Erdogan

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ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged increased support for Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) fighting Khalifa Haftar’s forces, calling the renegade military commander and his allies the biggest obstacle to peace in the war-torn country.

Speaking at a joint news conference with GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Ankara, Erdogan said yesterday history would judge those who caused “bloodshed and tears” in Libya by supporting Haftar, whom he described as a “putschist”. Erdogan also said a solution to the crisis in Libya can only be achieved politically and through efforts under the auspices of the United Nations.

Turkey and the GNA signed in November a military cooperation pact alongside a maritime demarcation deal, which gives Ankara oil exploration rights in the Mediterranean Sea that Greece and other countries reject.

The Turkish support has been crucial in the GNA’s efforts to push back Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which launched an offensive in April last year to seize Tripoli. After a string of recent military gains, the GNA said it had captured all areas surrounding the Tripoli city administrative area. —Agencies

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