SUN 9 - 8 - 2020
Jul 1, 2020
The Daily Star
Macron slams Turkey's 'criminal' role in Libya, Putin's ambivalence
PARIS: France's president Monday accused Turkey of importing Islamic militants into Libya, labeling Ankara's intervention "criminal" and he lambasted Russian President Vladimir Putin's ambivalence towards his country's mercenaries operating in the North African state.
Ties between NATO allies France and Turkey have soured in recent weeks over Libya, Northern Syria and drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey has intervened decisively in recent weeks in Libya, providing air support, weapons and allied fighters from Syria to help the internationally recognized government based in Tripoli repel a year-long assault by eastern military leader Khalifa Haftar.
"I think it's a historic and criminal responsibility for a country which claims to be a NATO member," French President Emmanuel Macron said.
Without providing any evidence on the nature of the fighters, he said Turkey was "massively importing" Islamic militants from Syria.
Paris has been accused of supporting Haftar politically, having previously given him military assistance to fight Islamic militants. France denies backing Haftar but has stopped short of rebuking his allies, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has also been singled out by the United Nations for violating an arms embargo.
Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) is backed by the UAE, Egypt and Russia. In recent weeks, French officials have repeatedly said that Turkey's intervention was encouraging Russia to gain a greater foothold in Libya.
Libya's National Oil Corporation said Friday Russian mercenaries had entered the Sharara oilfield. A United Nations report in May said Russian private military contractor Wagner Group had up to 1,200 people deployed in Libya.
Macron spoke to Putin Friday, but stopped short of denouncing Moscow as he has with Ankara. He said the two leaders agreed to work towards a common goal of a ceasefire.
On Monday, Macron said Putin had told him that private contractors did not represent Russia.
"I told him of my very clear condemnation of the actions which are carried out by the Wagner force... he plays on this ambivalence."
Readers Comments (0)
Add your comment
Enter the security code below
Can't read this?
Russia and Turkey agree to push for Libya ceasefire, says Moscow
UN chief denounces 'unprecedented' foreign interference in Libya
Turkish minister in Libya for defence cooperation talks
Former Libya envoy accuses Security Council of 'hypocrisy'
Nine bodies found in new Libya mass grave: pro-govt forces
Divisions over Libya are now spreading across the Mediterranean
Erdogan wades into Libya quagmire
It’s time to tackle inequality from the middle
Haftar’s rebranded Libya coups
Russia’s mediation goals in Libya
Copyright 2020 . All rights reserved