Libya's Tobruk government accuses Ankara of supporting terror groups

The spokesman for the Libyan National Army accused Turkey and Qatar of supporting terrorists in Libya during the Palermo conference in Italy
Thursday, 15 November 2018 23:19

Libya's Tobruk-based government accused the Turkish government and Qatar of "supporting terror". "These countries attended [the conference] to defend the interests of terrorist groups," said the spokesperson for the Libyan National Army (LNA), Ahmed al-Mismari.

The accusation came after the international conference on Libya, which was convened in Italy's island of Sicily, on November 12 and 13. Mismari, the spokesperson of Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the LNA under the Tobruk government in eastern Libya, apart from the other government in Tripoli.

"The conference concerned Libya and was hosted by Italy. What does Qatar have to do with this? What does Turkey have to do with this? These countries attended [the conference] in order to defend the interests of terrorist groups," Mismari said following the conference.

Fayez al-Sarraj, the PM of the UN-backed Government of National Accord, and Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army, the leaders of the two opposing governments in Libya, participated in the conference in Italy.

Mismari had previously accused Ankara and Qatar of supporting extremist groups in Libya, noting that Qatar had trained the al-Qaeda militants who had attacked Libya's ports.  

Qatar was represented at the conference by Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani , while Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay, who participated the conference as the representative of Ankara, left the conference early, noting that they were deeply disappointed because they were excluded from some meetings during the conference.

"Unfortunately, the international community has failed to convene today," Oktay said, adding that any meeting excluding Turkey would not be productive. Representatives from Russia, Egypt, France, Algeria and Tunisia attended the conference hosted by Italy.

The Libyan civil war has continued since the murder of Muammar Gaddafi during the NATO intervention in the country, which is now divided between the two governments, with the eastern part under the control of the Tobruk-based parliament supported by the LNA, and Sarraj's Government of National Accord in the western Libyan capital of Tripoli. The conference announced that the two opposing leaders decided to hold elections next year in Libya.