ANKARA

Turkey on Tuesday said France deepens the conflict in Libya by supporting renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar against the country’s internationally recognized government.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said French support encouraged Haftar to insist on military means and further added to the pain and grievances of war-weary Libyans.

Responding to a recent statement by France criticizing Turkey’s presence in Libya, Aksoy reiterated that Ankara had provided support for the government upon Tripoli’s request, whereas France stood with “putschist” Haftar despite UN and NATO resolutions.

Adding that the Turkish presence in Libya was legally-based, he said the French policy in the war-stricken country was not acceptable from a member of the NATO alliance.

Aksoy said France was acting as an agent of other countries in the region, and added that it has ill intentions for Libya, which was illustrated in its comments Monday.

Turkey will continue supporting efforts under the auspices of the UN to ensure lasting peace and stability in Libya, the statement concluded.

The Libyan has army recently inflicted heavy blows on militias loyal to Haftar, liberating Tripoli’s surroundings, as well as Tarhuna, Haftar’s final stronghold in western Libya.

The internationally recognized government in Tripoli has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.

The government launched Operation Peace Storm against Haftar in March to counter attacks on the capital and recently regained strategic locations.

Libya’s government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar’s forces.

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