Wednesday, 19 February 2020 23:54 WIB |
Turkey's president Wednesday criticized the European Union's decision to launch a maritime effort focused on enforcing the U.N arms embargo around Libya, accusing European nations that agreed to the operation of œinterfering in the region.''
Recep Tayyip Erdogan also hailed a decision by Libya's U.N.-supported government to withdraw from talks with rivals following an attack Tuesday on the sea port of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
EU foreign ministers agreed earlier this week to end Operation Sophia, the bloc's naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea, and launch a maritime effort focused more on implementing the U.N. arms embargo around Libya.
Operation Sophia was set up in 2015 as tens of thousands of migrants headed across the sea from North Africa to Europe. Its aim was to crack down on migrant smugglers, but also to enforcethe 2011 arms embargo, which is routinely being flouted.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said several European countries had offered to take part in the new operation.
Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. Relentless turmoil subsequently engulfed the oil-rich country, which is now split between rival governments based in its east and west, each backed by an array of foreign countries apparently jockeying for influence to control Libya's resources.
The U.N.-supported government in Tripoli is backed by Turkey and Qatar. On the other side are the eastern-based forces of commander Khalifa Hifter, which rely on military assistance from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia.
Hifter was in Moscow on Wednesday and met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Source : VOA