Libya on Tuesday pushed back recent statements by French President Emmanuel Macron on Turkey’s role in the north African country.
“We hoped to hear from President Macron a position that states his rejection of [Khalifa] Haftar’s 14 months of aggression against Tripoli,” the nation’s capital, said Mohamed Taher Siala, Libya’s foreign minister, referring to an eastern-based warlord who has attacked the government.
Siala made the comments in response to Monday statements by Macron claiming the Turkish role in the Libyan crisis posed a “threat to Africa and Europe.”
Last week, Macron also called Turkey’s support for the Libyan government a “dangerous game.”
In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry accused France of being complicit in the chaos in Libya, calling France’s presence and activities there troubling.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country’s new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by Haftar’s forces.
The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority, as Tripoli has battled Haftar’s militias since April 2019, a conflict that has taken over 1,000 lives.
Under a military pact with Libya signed last November, Turkey sent military advisors to assist in the battle against Haftar’s forces.
After the discovery of mass graves in areas left behind by retreating Haftar militias, the UN and international jurists have expressed concern over possible war crimes.
Haftar has been supported internationally by Russia, France, Egypt, and the UAE.
Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
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