Turkey threatens to "teach a lesson" to Libya's Haftar if conflict resumes

Turkey threatens to

Turkey threatens to "teach a lesson" to Libya's Haftar if conflict resumes

The rivals appeared keen on preserving the truce despite the failure of Russian efforts to have LNA commander Khalifa Haftar and GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj sign a ceasefire deal in Moscow on Monday.

In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to teach Hifter "the lesson he deserves" if attacks on the Tripoli government continued.

"With the aim of supporting the work of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salame towards a sovereign Libya and for a reconciliation process, the Chancellor Merkel is calling for a Libya conference in Berlin on Sunday", German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter.

Playing down the blow, Russia's defence ministry said Haftar had asked for two days to consider the deal, stressing that a shaky ceasefire established at the weekend would continue.

The conflict in Libya has ruined the economy, disrupted oil production and triggered migration flows to Europe that have now been greatly halted.

Gen Haftar is also backed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Jordan, raising fears that oil-rich Libya could become the theatre of a regional conflict, or even a "second Syria".

The GNA has also signed agreements with Ankara assigning Turkey rights over a vast area of the eastern Mediterranean, in a deal denounced by France, Greece, Egypt and Cyprus. Pro-LNA channels said Haftar had already left Moscow.

Germany has invited Fayez al-Sarraj, who heads the United Nations -supported administration in Tripoli, and Gen. Khalifa Hifter of the rival Libyan National Army to the January 19 meeting.

Forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar launched missile strikes to the south of Libya's capital, Tripoli late on Tuesday.

Haftar's troops have not been able to break Tripoli's defenses, but in recent weeks they have made some small advances with the help of Russian mercenaries, residents say.

The Moscow meeting pushed by Russian Federation and Turkey is the latest attempt to end chaos in the oil-producing country.

Putin on Saturday again denied Russia had deployed mercenaries to Libya, saying: "if there are Russians there, they do not represent the interests of the Russian state and do not receive money from it".

Russian Federation and Turkey have been accused of inflaming the conflict by giving military aid to its respective parties.

But U.S. President Donald Trump stunned global observers last spring by expressing support for "Field Marshal" Haftar in a statement.

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