Libya peace talks to be held in Berlin, Merkel says

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 11.01.2020 21:28
Demonstrators wave flags and step on posters of some world leaders as they take part in a rally against eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli on Jan. 10, 2020. AFP Photo
Demonstrators wave flags and step on posters of some world leaders as they take part in a rally against eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli on Jan. 10, 2020. (AFP Photo)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Libyan peace talks will be held in Berlin, as Turkey and Russia continue efforts to implement a cease-fire in the North African country.

During a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow Saturday, Merkel said, "We hope that the joint efforts by Russia and Turkey will lead to success, and we will soon send out invitations for a conference in Berlin."

Merkel stressed that the United Nations would lead talks if a meeting were to take place in Berlin and that Libya's warring parties would need to play a major role to help find a solution.

The aim was to give Libya the chance to become a sovereign and peaceful country, Merkel said.

Putin expressed support for the process, saying it was a 'timely' idea and necessary to bring the conflict in Libya to an end.

Earlier this week, Turkey and Russia urged Libya's warring parties to declare a cease-fire Sunday.

In response to being asked whether he was aware of the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya Putin said, "If there are Russian citizens there, then they are not representing the interests of the Russian state and they are not receiving money from the Russian state."

Turkey supports Fayez al-Serraj's Tripoli-based, internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) against strongman Khalifa Haftar's forces in the east. In November, Turkey's Parliament approved a security and military deal with Libya's GNA. The deal went into effect last month after it was published in the Official Gazette.

The deal allows Turkey to provide military training and equipment at the request of the Libyan government, which controls the capital, Tripoli, and some of the country's west.

Following the military cooperation deal, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara might consider sending troops to Libya if the Tripoli government made such a request.

In response to the country's invitation, Turkey started deploying military troops to Libya following the approval in Parliament of the mandate to send troops.

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