Libya’s Sarraj plan to step down upsets Turkey, says Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Libyan GNA leader Fayez al-Sarraj (L) arrive for a joint press conference in Ankara on June 4, 2020. (AFP)

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey was upset by news that Libya’s UN recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, an ally, wants toquit next month and Ankara may hold talks with his government on the issue in the coming week.

Sarraj announced on Wednesday his intention to step down by the end of October. The move could feed political tensions in Tripoli amid new efforts to find a political solution to the country’s conflict.

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“A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that Turkish delegations may hold talks with Sarraj’s government in the coming week.

“With these meetings, God willing we will turn this issue towards the direction it needs to go,” he said.

Sarraj is head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, while eastern Libya and much of the south is controlled by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). His departure could lead to infighting among senior GNA figures.

Libya has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Sarraj's Tripoli-based GNA has battled against a rival administration in eastern Libya led by General Khalifa Haftar, whose offensive against the capital was repelled earlier this year.

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Last Update: Friday, 18 September 2020 KSA 15:33 - GMT 12:33
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