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Libya’s President appeals to the EU

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Following the conclusion of controversial agreements with Turkey, the President of the Libyan Parliament wants the international community to withdraw its recognition of Prime Minister Fajes al-Sarradsch’s unity government.

„In the coming days, the Libyan parliament will take measures to withdraw the international recognition of this government,“ said parliamentary president Aguila Saleh yesterday during a visit to Cyprus‘ capital Nicosia to the AFP news agency.

EU should recognize „new government“

Saleh said that he asked Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides „to send a message to the European Union to withdraw recognition of this government“. It was „time to form a new government supported by the people and the Libyan parliament.“

There has been chaos in Libya since the fall and violent death of long-time ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011. The internationally recognized unitary government residing in Tripoli under al-Sarradsch is weak and has no control over large parts of the country.
Controversial military agreement

The renegade Libyan general Chalifa Haftar is fighting with his troops for control of the whole country. A government devoted to him and the Libyan parliament are based in eastern Libya. President Saleh is an ally of Haftar. The general is also supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

The Turkish parliament had approved a controversial military agreement with the unity government in Tripoli a week ago. It was agreed that soldiers and police officers would be sent to the other country for training and education purposes. Turkey previously supported the Libyan government troops with the delivery of tanks and drones.

Dispute over maritime borders

At the end of November, Turkey and the government in Tripoli also signed an agreement that sets their maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara wants to secure access to gas deposits off the coast of Cyprus. The agreement met with harsh criticism from the neighboring countries of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, as it saw their own rights violated in the region.

Saleh accused al-Sarradsch’s government in Nicosia of promoting “Turkish colonization of Libya”. However, the agreement with Ankara is „illegal“. Saleh also met Cypriot President Demetris Syllouris in Nicosia. In a joint statement, the two al-Sarradsch agreements with Turkey on maritime borders have been condemned as a violation of international law and accused Ankara of increasing tensions in the region.