Libya Parliament denies sending envoy to Turkey ‘to take orders’

Daily News Egypt
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Libya Parliament denies sending envoy to Turkey ‘to take orders’

Libya’s House of Representative Speaker Aguila Saleh has denied dispatching an envoy to Turkey “to beg and take orders,” according to a statement on Saturday.

Saleh said that the House of Representatives “[does] not receive orders from Turkey or anyone,” adding that they are working “for the stability and security of Libya.”

“We have nothing to hide,” he said, “The interest of the Libyan people is above all considerations, and the security and stability of Libya is our goal.”

He added that they will never hesitate to cooperate with countries active on resolving the Libyan crisis to achieve stability and security.

Saleh’s comments came in response to remarks made by a parliament member from the ruling party in Turkey, who said that the Speaker had “sent a personal envoy to Ankara to beg and take orders,” the statement said.

Reports had circulated that a meeting was held in Ankara, on Friday, involving parties from Tripoli to discuss the issue of armed factions in the Libyan capital, according to Al Arabiya. The reports suggested that a delegation of Libyan MPs met Turkish officials.

This came in parallel with a visit by Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, last Friday, to Italy’s capital Rome prior to his visit to Turkey. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met with Al-Sarraj during the latter’s visit to Rome.

Turkey received a high-profile security meeting involving Al-Sarraj, his Minister of Defence, and Libyan militia leaders, most of whom came from the north-western city of Misrata, according to Italy’s Nova news agency.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the setting up of a monitoring group that would include civilians and retired soldiers from regional groups, such as the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the Arab League.

The group would oversee Libya’s fragile ceasefire that was agreed upon between rival parties in October, and which has been widely flouted over recent weeks.

There are currently 20,000 foreign fighters in Libya, the UN Acting Special Representative Stephanie Williams said, in December.

Williams added that those fighters represent “a serious crisis” and “a shocking violation of Libyan sovereignty.”

The permanent and complete ceasefire agreement that was signed by the rival Libyan parties last October provides that all military units and armed groups on the frontlines shall return to their camps.

It also stipulates that this shall be accompanied by the departure of all mercenaries and foreign fighters from all Libyan territories, whether land, air or sea, within a maximum period of three months, according to the UN.

However, neither side of the rival parties has withdrawn forces from the frontline, as concerns have been raised over an escalation that could alter efforts aimed for settling the crisis.

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