Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar on Wednesday said in a letter addressed to the Ports and Maritime Transport Administration that Turkish-flagged commercial ships can dock at the Benghazi port.
“We have no objection to the entry to our ports of Turkish-flagged commercial ships that comply with the stated legal procedures and legislation,” Libya Al-Hadath, a pro-Haftar television station, quoted him as saying in the letter.
Libya’s eastern Benghazi city is under the control of Haftar.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The war was exacerbated when warlord Khalifa Haftar, supported by several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia, and France, carried out a military onslaught to topple the Tripoli-based internationally recognized government for control of the North African country.
In June 2019, Haftar issued an order targeting Turkish ships inside territorial waters, and considered Turkish companies and positions as legitimate targets.
A Turkish ship, transporting medicine to Libya’s port of Misrata was detained in December last year by forces loyal to Haftar. It was released a few days later.
Ankara and Tripoli signed two memorandums of understanding, one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
On Oct. 23, 2020, a cease-fire was reached under the auspices of the UN, which Haftar’s militia violates from time to time.
On Feb. 5, Libyan delegates elected Mohammad Menfi to head the three-member Presidential Council and Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh the new prime minister. The new executive authority will govern Libya in the lead-up to national elections on Dec. 24.
Last week, the Libyan parliament granted a vote of confidence to Dbeibeh’s government with 132 votes of the 133 lawmakers who attended the session.
Libyans hope it will end years of civil war that have engulfed the country since the ouster and killing of strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011.
*Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara contributed to this report
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