AL rejects Turkish troops in Libya

CAIRO: The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) expressed its rejection to the approval of the Turkish parliament to deploy troops in war-torn Libya. The pan-Arab body considered the move “promotion of the ongoing conflict” in Libya. The Turkish parliament’s approval ignored the Arab rejection of any foreign intervention in Libya, as stated in Tuesday’s emergency meeting of the AL Council at the level of permanent delegates in Cairo. “The AL Council stresses support for the political process in Libya,” the AL said, adding it considers a 2015 UNbrokered peace deal between Libya’s warring factions, reached in Morocco’s Skhirat city, as “the only reference for settlement in Libya.” Earlier in the day, the Turkish parliament passed a motion that authorizes the government to deploy troops in Libya for a year to support the UN-backed government based in the capital Tripoli. The motion said the Turkish government will decide on the size, timing, and scope of the deployment of troops in Libya. Egypt also strongly condemned the Turkish plan in a statement by its foreign ministry, warning against any foreign military intervention in conflict- stricken neighboring Libya. “Egypt warns against the consequences and repercussions of any Turkish military intervention in Libya,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said. “Such an intervention would negatively affect the stability of the Mediterranean region and Turkey would bear full responsibility for that,” it added. The Egyptian House of Representatives also slammed the Turkish move in a press release. “This Turkish unaccounted step violates the decisions of international legitimacy and the UN Security Council resolutions on Libya,” the Egyptian parliament said. It also considered the Turkish move “a threat to the Egyptian national security,” warning that it undermines the stability of the Mediterranean region as well. Egypt will take all necessary measures to confront such Turkish “unacceptable threats,” it noted. Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Libyan conflict escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival parties: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital Tripoli and a government in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar. While Egypt supports Haftar’s LNA which has been leading an offensive since April in a bid to take over Tripoli, Turkey backs the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. Mokhtar Ghobashi, deputy chairman of the Arab Center for Political and Strategic Studies, ruled out the possibility of Egyptian direct military interference in Libya despite its strong condemnation of the Turkish move. “I believe what Turkey is doing now aims at threatening Haftar to stop his attack on Tripoli,” Ghobashi, a political expert, told Xinhua. The Egyptian expert noted that the Turkish parliament’s approval is not restricted to sending troops to Libya but also humanitarian and medical aids. Last month, Turkey sealed a controversial maritime boundary delimitation agreement with the GNA along with a security cooperation deal. “If the Turkish troops will be deployed in Libya, they will focus on defending Serraj and Tripoli, but they will not be engaged in fighting and will only provide logistic assistance,” said Ghobashi. The settlement of the Libyan crisis requires an agreement between the top figures of Libya’s warring parties including Haftar and Serraj, he added.