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Erdogan Demands Stand Against Libya    01/19 08:49

   ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the 
international community to stand against "the merchants of blood and chaos" as 
he headed Sunday to a Berlin summit seeking to resolve the Libya conflict.

   Erdogan supports the U.N.-backed administration in Tripoli led by Fayez 
Sarraj and sent troops to Libya earlier this month to help them in their battle 
with eastern-based forces led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

   He will join leaders from Russia, the West and Arab countries, as well as 
the heads of the opposing Libyan factions, in the German capital in a bid to 
halt nine months of fighting around the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

   Speaking at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, Erdogan said the world had failed to 
respond adequately to Hifter's "reckless attacks."

   He added: "Hopes that flourish again with the cease-fire and the Berlin 
summit should not be sacrificed to the ambitions of the merchants of blood and 
chaos."

   A truce sponsored by Turkey and Russia was imposed a week ago but sporadic 
fighting has continued. On Friday, tribal groups loyal to Hifter seized several 
large oil export terminals along Libya's eastern coast as well as southern oil 
fields in another challenge to the Tripoli government,

   Germany is bringing together key players in Libya's long-running conflict in 
a bid to curb foreign military meddling, solidify the cease-fire and help 
relaunch a political process to determine Libya's future.

   Serraj's government is backed by Turkey, Qatar and Italy while Hifter is 
supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and France. Russian 
military contractors have been fighting alongside Hifter's forces, although 
Moscow retains links to both sides in the conflict.


(KR)

 
 
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