Shoukry phones Saudi, UAE, Greek, Cypriot FMs on Turkish escalation in Libya

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Fri, 03 Jan 2020 - 01:41 GMT

A member of the central security support force holds a weapon during the security deployment in the Tajura neighborhood, east of Tripoli, Libya December 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

A member of the central security support force holds a weapon during the security deployment in the Tajura neighborhood, east of Tripoli, Libya December 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

CAIRO – 3 January 2020: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made phone calls with a number of world leaders to discuss the latest escalation by Turkey when its parliament voted for sending Turkish troops to Libya, said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement on Thursday evening.

“In the wake of the Turkish Parliament’s passing of a motion submitted by the Turkish President requesting a mandate to send Turkish forces to Libya, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry conducted a number of phone calls with his counterparts on January 2, 2020, namely the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Greece and Cyprus, as well as the Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, to discuss this dangerous escalation by the Turkish side,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in the statement.

He added that the officials agreed during the phone calls on the dangerous consequences of this development on Arab national security, regional security, and the security of the Mediterranean, and on the stability of the entire region.

Turkey’s Parliament voted on Wednesday for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal to send Turkish troops to Libya, which is expected to deepen the Libyan crisis and mount tensions in the Middle East and North Africa.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which constitute the majority of the Parliament, supported the bill, while the opposition, the Peoples' Democratic Party and the Republican People's Party stood against it.

The bill, which aimed to give one-year mandate to Erdogan to send troops to Libya, says the objective of sending troops is to “protect” the Turkish national interests against security risks posed by “illegal armed groups in Libya," in indication to the Arab-supported Libyan national army led by Khalifa Haftar.

Egypt strongly condemned the Turkish parliament approval and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed during meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday a number of measures to counter any threats to the Egyptian national security.

Turkey interfered into the Libyan turmoil when Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj reached a deal in February 2019 on drawing maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea, and enhancing military cooperation. The deal provoked anger in Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, which voiced their rejection of the deal as it contradicts with the international agreements.

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