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Turkey parliament to hear motion on Libya deployment

By AFP - Dec 31,2019 - Last updated at Dec 31,2019

ANKARA/PARIS — Turkey's presidency sent a motion to parliament on Monday to approve a military deployment in support of the UN-backed government in Libya, a close ally of Turkey against regional rivals. 

The motion, signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will be heard at a special session of parliament on Thursday, state news agency Anadolu reported. 

It follows a security and military cooperation agreement signed in late November during a visit to Turkey by the head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al  Sarraj.

On Friday, Erdogan's office confirmed a request for military support had been received from the GNA.

France and Egypt called Monday for the "greatest restraint" by Libyan and international au thorities to avoid escalating the conflict in Libya, a statement from President Emmanuel Macron's office said.

Macron held talks late Sunday with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Al Sisi when both agreed that warring Libyan powers need to negotiate a political solution under UN auspices.

The GNA is backed by the UN, but the addition of Turkish troops could further inflame tensions in a country torn by the devastating campaign of strongman Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army.

More than 140,000 Libyans have fled their homes since April when Haftar’s forces launched an assault on Tripoli. 

UN-sponsored talks on the conflict are set for January in Berlin to try to end the fighting, sparked by the NATO-backed uprising that toppled dictator Muammer Qadhafi in 2011.

Neighbouring countries like Egypt have been on high alert since then, not least against the potential for rival regional powers to exploit the turmoil.

Macron and Sisi also criticised a recent deal between Turkey and Libya over maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, calling it “against the rules of maritime law”.

Critics say the deal, part of a security and military cooperation accord with the GNA, would greatly extend Ankara’s territorial claims.

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