Libya's new presidency council to visit Turkey on Friday

FILE PHOTO: Mohamed al-Menfi, Head of the Presidential Council of Libya, talks to the press after a meeting with the French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris
·1 min read

ANKARA (Reuters) - Libya's new presidency council will visit Turkey on Friday for talks with President Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish presidency said late on Thursday, marking the council's first official visit to Turkey since taking office.

Libya's new unity government was sworn in on March 15 https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2B7203 from two warring administrations that had ruled eastern and western regions, completing a smooth transition of power after a decade of violent chaos.

Turkey had backed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against the Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which was supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.

Erdogan's office said in a statement that Mohammed al-Menfi, head of Libya's presidency council, and council member Abdullah al-Lafi would discuss Turkey-Libya relations, possible steps to expand cooperation, and exchange views on international and regional issues during the working visit.

Turkey has previously said that Turkish firms would take an active role in rebuilding the war-torn country. New Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh has said economic deals the GNA had struck with Turkey should remain.

In 2019, Ankara signed a maritime demarcation agreement with the GNA in the eastern Mediterranean, and a military cooperation accord under which Turkey sent military advisers and trainers to Tripoli. Ankara also sent Syrian fighters to help the GNA block an LNA offensive on Tripoli last year.

Turkey, Egypt and the UAE have each welcomed the appointment of the new government, as have the United States and European Union. However, foreign powers that backed each side have not pulled out fighters or arms.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; editing by Grant McCool)