UN To Meet On Libya At Russia’s Request As Turkey Sends Troops To Tripoli

Russia has called for a UN Security Council meeting on Libya for January 6, as Turkey has started deploying soldiers to the war-ravaged country to support the UN-recognized government in Tripoli.

Formally, the purpose for Russia’s request is to discuss an international conference on the North African country that Germany is hoping to convene by month’s end.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on January 5 that he dispatched military elements to Libya tasked with “coordination” and helping to “develop” an operation center there, he told CNN Turk broadcaster.

The Libyan government has been under severe military strain since April, when the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), led by General Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive against the struggling Government of National Accord (GNA).

Turkey, a NATO member, backs the government in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, units of Russian private military contractors reportedly work to bolster Haftar, actions that Moscow has denied.

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also back the warlord.

Erdogan’s decision comes after the GNA made a formal request for military support and after Ankara and Tripoli struck security and maritime deals in November.

Part of the agreement provides Turkey with rights to large areas of the Mediterranean Sea where gas reserves have been discovered.

The pact subsequently angered other Mediterranean countries, including Greece and Cyprus.

Meanwhile, at least 30 people were killed and dozens hurt in an air strike on a military school in Tripoli on January 4.

On January 3, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his call for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and urged all parties to return to negotiations in an effort to end the bloody conflict in the country.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, CNN, and AP
Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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