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Libya’s new PM headed to Turkey

Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh and a delegation of ministers will make their first visit to Turkey on Monday since taking office last month, the Turkish presidency said on Sunday.

Libya’s new unity government was sworn in on March 15 from two warring administrations that had ruled eastern and western regions, completing a smooth transition of power after a decade of violent chaos.

Turkey had backed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which was supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.

Turkey’s presidency said Dbeibeh will hold a two-day visit upon President Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation, adding that he and Erdogan would chair the first meeting of the Turkey-Libya High Level Strategic Cooperation Council in Ankara.

“At the Council Meeting to be held with the participation of relevant ministers, all aspects of Turkey-Libya relations, which have deeply-rooted, historic ties, will be discussed, steps that can be taken to further improve cooperation will be evaluated,” it said.

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Turkish state media reported that Dbeibeh would visit Ankara with a team including 14 ministers, five deputy prime ministers, the chief of staff and other officials. It added cooperation on energy and health would be discussed, along with the resumption of projects by Turkish companies that were stopped over the war.

Turkey has said that Turkish firms would take an active role in rebuilding the war-torn country.

In 2019, Ankara signed a maritime demarcation agreement with the GNA in the eastern Mediterranean, and a military cooperation accord under which Turkey sent military advisers and trainers to Tripoli. Ankara also sent Syrian fighters to help the GNA block an LNA offensive on Tripoli last year.

Greece, which opposes the maritime agreement between Tripoli and Ankara, called for the accord to be cancelled on Tuesday, as it reopened its embassy in Libya after seven years.

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Dbeibeh, selected through a United Nations-led process, has said economic deals between the GNA and Turkey should remain.

Turkey, Egypt and the UAE have each welcomed the appointment of the new government, as have the United States and European Union. However, foreign powers that backed each side have not pulled out fighters or arms.

Libya’s new presidency council visited Turkey last month for talks with Erdogan.

Source: Reuters

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