It seems that Libya has become an open field for the international intervention, particularly for Turkey that sees Libya as a gateway to Africa, and for some EU states trying to preserve the earnings of their old push. However, despite Russia’s late intervention in Libya, it considers strengthening its influence there, a major gain for the cold country who seeks a foothold in the warm waters, and to reach an international balance with U.S. and EU.
In a press conference on Friday, Ghassan Salamah, the international envoy to Libya warned of the consequences, if the truce in Libya collapses within the next 24 hours.
Salamah expressed his concerns of turning the conflict in Libya into a regional war after the intervention of external parties.
“Many areas in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, have gone under bombardment,” Salamah said, pointing out that Tripoli’s airport was targeted in the morning and 5 people of one family were killed.
“We had three days of negotiations between the Libyan parties on the political track in Geneva and we have set an agenda for the political track,” Salamah added at the end of a negotiations’ round between the Libyan parties.
“Negotiations’ tracks can by no mean continue in conjunction with the shelling, and the truce signed on January 12 shall be implemented, whereas negotiations shall continue on all three tracks: political, military and economic,” he told reporters.
The envoy added that another round of negotiations will be announced in the following few days, with attempts to persuade the parties that didn’t attend the first round to participate in the second.
“The tracks of the negotiations are synchronized but not connected to each other, so the failure or advance in any of the three shall not affect the other two tracks,” Salamah stressed.
Ankara has worked on reinforcing its presence in Libya, so it can make some compromises with Russia in regards to the Syrian crisis. Ankara took advantage of the UN’s recognition of Fayez al-Sarraj government, which follows conceptual lines close to those of the Turkish AKP, that follows the approach of Muslim Brotherhood; and signed with the Tripoli bilateral agreement on joint defence and Turkey’s right in the Libyan waters. The agreement was signed at the UN headquarters.
But the Turkish presence in Libya is unwelcome, as Libyan tribes have issued several resolutions in the past few days condemning the Turkish presence, considering it an occupation. Meanwhile, the Libyan National Army declared Friday Feb.28, that Turkish forces took control over Maiteqa airport, the only working airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli, controlled by Fayez al-Sarraj militias.
Libyan National Army also said that several Turkish troops were killed at the airport.
“After taking control of the airport, Turkish troops transferred equipment and military vehicles,” the director of moral guidance department in the Libyan army, Khaled al-Mahjoub, said. He pointed out that around ten Turkish soldiers were killed by artillery shelling that hit the airport, which Ankara has turned into a military base.
The Libyan official indicated that the strikes targeted drones airstrip and a radar platform at the airport, stressing that militias are violating the truce every day by bringing arms and mercenaries and hitting the national army continually.
On Friday, a third day of negotiations on the political track took place in Geneva. The UN Support Mission to Libya did not disclose lists of participants or issues included in the meeting’s schedule, as the date of the last day wasn’t set yet. Representatives of the Libyan Parliament were absent, because the UN mission had interfered in choosing the Parliament’s representatives for the dialog, according to parliamentary sources.