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Erdogan warns of legalising Haftar at the expense of UN-backed Libyan government

December 21, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets the crowd during a mass opening ceremony in Kayseri, Turkey on October 19, 2019 [Mustafa Kamacı / Anadolu Agency]

Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warned on Friday of legalising renegade Libyan General, Khalifa Haftar, at the expense of the internationally-backed government in Tripoli, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking to journalists following his visit to Malaysia, Erdogan disclosed: “Haftar is not politically legal. There are certain sides who seek to give him legitimacy, while Fayiz Al-Sarraj (head of UN-backed Libyan government) is the leader and legal representative.”

Erdogan noted that Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, France and Italy are taking part in this endeavour. He also expressed his disappointment in Russia’s covert involvement.

“We cannot stay idle regarding the Russian Wagner Group mercenaries in Libya,” he announced.

Read: Turkey’s Erdogan says ready to boost military support to Libya

Wagner Group contractors are fighting alongside General Haftar, against the internationally-recognised government in Tripoli.

Erdogan’s warning came following Russian Interfax News reporting a Russian Foreign Ministry source expressing Moscow’s worries regarding the possibility that Turkey may send forces to Libya, adding that the security pact between Ankara and Tripoli raises many questions.

On Thursday, the Libyan Ministerial Council unanimously approved the Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with Turkey, a statement disclosed.

Ankara and Tripoli signed two MoUs on 27 November – one relating to military and security cooperation, and the other delimiting maritime boundaries in the East Mediterranean, between both sides.

Read: How Libya’s UN recognised government is doing everything but its job