Libyan National Army says Erdogan exploiting ‘clinical death’ of al-Sarraj govt

Erdogan (right), shakes hands with al-Sarraj (left), prior to their meeting in Istanbul, Wednesday, November 27, 2019. (AP)

The Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Monday that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to exploit the “clinical death” of the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj to sign “illegal” agreements which are a serious breach of international laws that disregards the lawful rights of other eastern Mediterranean countries.

In a statement, the LNA called upon the UN Security Council to intervene to curb Turkey’s ambitions in Libya.

The LNA was hitting out at Ankara’s agreement which was reached with al-Sarraj’s government last week, delimiting maritime borders in the Mediterranean, in new attempts by Turkey to encroach drilling rights of nations in the eastern Mediterranean.

In a related development, Aguila Saleh, President of the Libyan House of Representatives, sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regarding the agreement signed between Turkey and al-Sarraj.

Saleh said that the signed agreement represents a threat to the Libyan state and its future and security.

He also sent a letter - in the same context - to the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Meanwhile, Greece’s foreign minister on Monday threatened to expel the Libyan ambassador to Athens unless she provided details of a “military deal” that Tripoli signed with Ankara last week.

On Sunday, Greece’s prime minister said he will ask other NATO members at the alliance’s London summit to support Greece in the face of fellow member Turkey’s agreement with Libya’s GNA.

While Greece and Egypt are across from each other in the Mediterranean Sea, as are Greece and Turkey, Libya is geographically further from Turkey and the waters between the two countries are mostly those between Greece and Egypt.

The Turkey-Libya deal added tension to an ongoing dispute with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil-and-gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

The LNA’s statement further emphasized that Turkey has become a threatening side against the interests of the Libyan people, accusing Ankara of supporting militias and terrorist groups fighting in Libya.

Last Friday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias asked the Libyan ambassador to Athens to present the deal with Turkey by December 5 or face expulsion.

The LNA - which takes the east Libyan city of Benghazi as a base - launched an offensive last April in a bid to seize the capital Tripoli from fighters loyal to the GNA.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

-With The Associated Press

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