Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he discussed the conflict in Libya with the U.S. President Donald Trump over a telephonic conversation on Monday and that the two leaders agreed on “some issues” associated with developments there.
Turkey supports the internationally recognized government of Fayez al Serraj, whose forces in recent weeks have driven back an assault on the capital Tripoli by the forces of Khalifa Haftar, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.
While the US officially supports Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), Haftar is supported by Washington’s allies – Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia – as well as France and Russia.
“A new era between Turkey and the US may start after our phone call. We agreed on some issues,” Erdogan said in an interview with state broadcaster TRT and touched on to a “possible step” the two countries could take together- without submitting any specifics.
A White House statement said Trump and Erdogan discussed the war in the North-African country, as well as Syria and the wider eastern Mediterranean region, but gave no details.
Egypt had called for a ceasefire starting on Monday, as part of an initiative which also proposed an elected leadership council for Libya. Haftar’s other supporters, Russia and the UAE, also welcomed the proposal.
But Erdogan, whose support for Serraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) helped change the course of the war, said the GNA would continue fighting to seize the coastal city of Sirte and the Jufra airbase further south, in a strategic region of the oil exporting country.
“Now the goal is to take over the whole Sirte area and get it done. These are areas with the oil wells, these are of great importance,” he said.
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