Turkish president, Italian PM discuss Libya over phone


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte over the phone on Saturday.

Turkey’s Communications Directorate said in a statement that Erdogan and Conte discussed regional developments, particularly in war-weary Libya, as well as cooperation in fighting COVID-19.

The leaders agreed to maintain dialogue for a political solution in Libya.

Since April 2019, warlord Khalifa Haftar’s illegitimate forces have launched attacks on the Libyan capital of Tripoli and other parts of northwestern Libya, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, including civilian women and children.

However, the Libyan government has recently achieved significant victories, pushing Haftar’s forces out of Tripoli and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

The country’s new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by Haftar, who has been backed by France, Russia, the UAE, and Egypt.

The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority.

Separately, Erdogan held a phone talk with Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, the Communications Directorate said in a statement. The two leaders discussed steps to enhance bilateral relations, regional developments as well as cooperation in fight against coronavirus.

Erdogan also received Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. The closed-door meeting was held at the Vahdettin Pavilion in Istanbul.

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur and Gozde Bayar

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