Libya’s new PM Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh to visit Turkey

Dbeibeh to discuss cooperation on energy and health with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish state media says.

Dbeibeh leads Libya's new unity government, which was sworn in on March 15 from two warring administrations [File: Hazem Ahmed/Reuters]

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh and a delegation of ministers will make their first visit to Turkey on Monday since taking office last month, the Turkish presidency has said.

Libya’s new unity government was sworn in on March 15 from two warring administrations that had ruled eastern and western regions, completing a smooth transition of power after a decade of violent chaos.

Turkey had backed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which was supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

Turkey’s presidency said Dbeibeh will hold a two-day visit upon President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation, adding that he and Erdogan would chair the first meeting of the Turkey-Libya High Level Strategic Cooperation Council in Ankara.

“At the council meeting to be held with the participation of relevant ministers, all aspects of Turkey-Libya relations, which have deeply-rooted, historic ties, will be discussed, steps that can be taken to further improve cooperation will be evaluated,” it said on Sunday.

Turkish state media reported that Dbeibeh would visit Ankara with a team including 14 ministers, five deputy prime ministers, the chief of staff and other officials. It added cooperation on energy and health would be discussed, along with the resumption of projects by Turkish companies that were stopped over the war.

Turkey has said that Turkish firms would take an active role in rebuilding the war-torn country.

In 2019, Ankara signed a maritime demarcation agreement with the GNA in the Eastern Mediterranean, and a military cooperation accord under which Turkey sent military advisers and trainers to Tripoli.

Ankara also sent military hardware and Syrian fighters to help the GNA block an LNA offensive on Tripoli last year.

The maritime agreement complicated Ankara’s disputes over offshore energy exploration in the Mediterranean with nations including Greece, which saw the move as infringing its sovereign rights.

Greece and Turkey are at odds over various decades-old issues ranging from mineral rights in the Aegean Sea to the divided island of Cyprus.

Athens, which opposes the maritime agreement between Tripoli and Ankara, called for the accord to be cancelled on Tuesday, as it reopened its embassy in Libya after seven years.

Dbeibeh, selected through a United Nations-led process, has said economic deals between the GNA and Turkey should remain.

Turkey, Egypt and the UAE have each welcomed the appointment of the new government, as have the United States and European Union. However, foreign powers that backed each side have not pulled out fighters or arms.

Libya’s new presidency council visited Turkey last month for talks with Erdogan.

Source: News Agencies