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Iran FM voices support for Turkey-backed Libya government

June 17, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the Raisina Dialogue 2020 in Delhi, India, on 15 January 2020 [Imtiyaz Khan/Anadolu Agency]

Iran has announced its support for the Turkish-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli.

The declaration was made on Monday by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif during a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, during a visit to Istanbul. It was also Turkey’s first time hosting a foreign minister in months since the coronavirus outbreak.

“We seek to have a political solution to the Libyan crisis to end the civil war,” said Zarif. “We support the legitimate government in Libya, and it is able to end the ongoing war. We have common views with the Turkish side on ways to end the crisis in Libya and Yemen,” he added.

For his part, Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey’s opposition to US sanctions on Iran. “Iran’s stability and peace is important for us,” he said. “We oppose unilateral sanctions. In fact, the pandemic has taught us that the world needs greater cooperation and solidarity.”

READ: Libya parliament demands probe into mass killings

Yesterday Zarif left Istanbul for Russian capital Moscow, where he met with the country’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who reiterated Russia’s promise to stand by Iran over its nuclear programme.  Lavrov also said that Ankara, Moscow and Tehran – who form the Astana trio – will be holding a video conference to discuss Syria, followed by a summit held in Tehran.

Iran’s support for the GNA differs from its ally Syria, who is currently in an alliance with the Tobruk-based Libyan government. Despite the shared stance on Libya, Turkey and Iran back opposing sides in the conflict in Syria.

Zarif’s visits to Turkey and Russia would be his second diplomatic trip following a visit to Syria last month to discuss bilateral relations amid the coronavirus pandemic and US sanctions on Syria, which have now come into effect.

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