UN to meet on Libya as Turkey deploys troops to back Tripoli govt

UN meeting, to take place at Russia’s request, is first chance to discuss Libya-Turkey security and maritime agreements.

Libya conflict
The UN Security Council is due to meet on Monday to discuss the situation in Libya [Ismail Zitouny/Reuters]

The United Nations Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Monday about the situation in Libya, as Turkish troops began deploying to the country in a bid to shore up the UN-recognised government in Tripoli.

The meeting, held at Russia‘s request, is formally focused on an international conference on Libya that Germany hopes to organise by month’s end. So far, no date for the meeting has been announced.

But Monday’s talks will be the first chance for Security Council members to discuss controversial security and maritime deals struck by Libya and Turkey in November, and Ankara’s subsequent decision to send troops to Libya.

Turkey’s move comes after the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord – under sustained attack since renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive in April – made a formal request for military support.

The maritime agreement reached by Tripoli and Ankara gives Turkey rights to large swathes of the Mediterranean where gas reserves have recently been discovered.

Libya military academy
 Security has broken down in Libya where the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognised by the UN, is battling renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar [Ismail Zitouny/Reuters]

That has angered other Mediterranean countries including Greece and Cyprus, that also want to exploit energy resources in the region.

Military school attacked

At least 30 people were killed and 33 others wounded in an air raid on a military school in Tripoli on Saturday, according to the government.

UN diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP they could not rule out the possibility that a council member could raise the issue of Russian mercenaries working to bolster Haftar.

Moscow has denied all responsibility on that front.

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya.

“Any foreign support to the warring parties will only deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a peaceful and comprehensive political solution,” he said in a statement.

Source: AFP