Erdogan, Putin discuss Libya conflict in phone call

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed on Saturday the ongoing conflict in Libya with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, state news agency Anadolu said, without giving further details.

Erdogan and Putin spoke by phone and discussed the “crisis in Libya and regional issues,” Anadolu said. The report would not comment on the nature of the conversation.

The phone talk comes hours after Erdogan met in Istanbul Fayez Serraj, the head of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli and backed by the United Nations.

In a meeting late Friday, Erdogan reaffirmed Ankara’s support for the “legitimate” government of Serraj, according to Anadolu.

Erdogan called on Khalifa Haftar, the head of the rival Libyan National Army (LNA), to cease his attacks.

The self-styled LNA, which accuses Turkey of providing military support to the GNA, last week announced a ban on flights between Libya and Turkey.

It said Turkish ships and aircraft were “legitimate targets” for its forces.

On Monday, Haftar’s forces freed six Turkish citizens after Turkey threatened action.

Haftar is thought to be receiving support from Russia while Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are believed to be his main allies.

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The Serraj government is thought to be supported by Qatar and Turkey.

Haftar had ordered his forces to capture the capital in April and violence has escalated since with neither side able to make substantial progress.

The GNA blamed Haftar for an airstrike on a detention centre near Tripoli that left scores of people dead or injured on Wednesday.

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