'Too early' to say Libya ceasefire collapsed: Turkey

2 min

Ankara (AFP)

Turkey said Wednesday it was still confident the ceasefire in Libya would hold despite strongman Khalifa Haftar's refusal to sign a permanent truce.

Haftar walked away from talks in Moscow aimed at finalising a ceasefire orchestrated by Russia and Turkey, which came into force Sunday.

The joint Turkish and Russian initiative is the latest international effort to broker an end to fighting between Haftar's forces based in the east of the country and the UN-recognised government in Tripoli.

"It is still too early to say that the ceasefire has fallen apart," Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said during a briefing in Ankara.

"The work related to this continues."

With an international conference on the Libyan conflict due in Berlin on Sunday, Akar said Turkey supported "a ceasefire, peace, a political solution".

Germany has invited both sides of the conflict to talks with 11 countries and several international organisations.

Turkey supports the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, which has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April.

Turkey has deployed soldiers to Libya but Ankara insists they are providing training and advice, and will not be taking part in active combat.

Akar did not say how many Turkish soldiers were in Libya but said the numbers changed according to Tripoli's needs.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu later Wednesday said Haftar "doesn't want peace" despite international efforts.

Speaking at a think tank event in Ankara, the minister told the audience: "He wants a military solution rather than a political process."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US counterpart Donald Trump discussed the latest developments in Libya among other regional issues Wednesday in a phone call, the Turkish presidency said, but offered no further details.

The telephone talks come a day after GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj met with the US Ambassador to Ankara David Satterfield in Istanbul.