Amid tensions in Libya, Turkey’s role in Arab world ‘unwelcome’: UAE Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (File photo: AP)

Turkey’s “current role in the Arab region is not welcome,” said UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed on Thursday.

That Emirati minister’s comments came during a call with the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Joseph Borell Fontelles. The two officials discussed UAE-EU ties and regional developments, including Turkey’s involvement in Libya.

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“Both sides affirmed that foreign intervention in Libya will not only harm the country but also neighboring countries and the entire region,” the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement about the call.

“Sheikh Abdullah pointed out that Turkey’s current role in the Arab region is not welcome and will have negative implications while highlighting the importance of the joint efforts of the international community to reach a political settlement to the current crisis.”

The UAE minister expressed his support for Egypt’s efforts in reaching a political solution to the Libyan crisis.

Turkey in Libya

Tensions have been escalating in Libya and between the countries which back the two warring parties in it, the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Serraj.

Turkey, which backs the GNA, has also been ramping up its military intervention in Libya recently. Ankara has been providing air support, weapons and allied fighters from Syria to the GNA.

In November, Turkey signed a military cooperation pact with the GNA. The two parties also signed a maritime demarcation deal, which gives Ankara exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

The maritime deal was rejected as “illegal” by many Mediterranean countries such Greece and Cyprus.

In early in June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country’s support for the GNA “will increasingly continue.”

On Thursday, Turkey said that the GNA demanded Haftar’s forces to withdraw from Sirte and Jufra region as pre-requisites for ceasefire talks.

Libya map infographic 22/06/2020

Libya map infographic 22/06/2020

Egypt’s ‘national security’

Turkey’s intervention in Libya would give it a foothold in the natural-resources-rich Middle East, where its international ties to many countries are strained.

This is especially significant for Egypt, since it shares a long border with Libya, backs Haftar’s LNA and its relationship with Turkey has been tense for years.

On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that his country has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya and ordered the army to be prepared to carry out missions if necessary.

He said: “Any direct intervention from the Egyptian state has now acquired international legitimacy,” adding that Egypt had received “direct threats” from “terrorist militias and mercenaries” supported by foreign countries.

Earlier in June, Egypt had called for a ceasefire in Libya, however, in his recent speech Sisi said that Egypt has always been reluctant to intervene in Libya but “the situation now is different.”

“If some people think that they can cross the Sirte-Jufra frontline, this is a red line for us,” he said.

Read more:

France supports Egypt’s initiative, says Libyan stability vital for Europe’s security

Libya’s GNA should realize its size, who it’s talking to: Egypt official in report

Saudi Minister: Security of Egypt, Saudi Arabia ‘indivisible’ amid tensions in Libya

Libyan National Army: Will never give up Sirte to Turkey ‘no matter the sacrifice’

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Last Update: Thursday, 25 June 2020 KSA 19:16 - GMT 16:16
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