06:26 GMT05 August 2020
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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Units of the Libyan National Army, headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, must withdraw from Sirte and Jufra, and if they fail to do so a military operation against them will be launched, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.

    "Haftar must withdraw from Sirte and Jufra. We have told this to the Russian side. Military preparations for an operation in Sirte are underway, although we still await some settlement at the negotiating table. But if he does not withdraw, we will show determination", Cavusoglu said, as aired by the TRT broadcaster.

    Turkey believes that the crisis in Libya can only be resolved politically, the foreign minister stressed.

    FILE - In this Dec. 25, 2018, file, photo, smoke rises shortly after an attack on the foreign ministry building, in Tripoli
    © AP Photo / MOHAMED BEN KHALIFA
    FILE - In this Dec. 25, 2018, file, photo, smoke rises shortly after an attack on the foreign ministry building, in Tripoli
    "Although the ceasefire is currently maintained, it does not serve the interests of the Libyan government, as it has concerns that Haftar may not be sincere. We believe he is trying to win time and is preparing an attack again. The Libyan government thinks it is necessary to see a road map first, and if the road map contains convenient conditions, then it will agree upon a ceasefire. This is a proper approach", Cavusoglu added.

    The North African country is now divided amid a war between the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and Haftar-led Libyan National Army. Turkey has previously provided extensive military support to the GNA after Ankara and Tripoli signed a military cooperation pact. In response, Haftar vowed to oppose the Turkish forces and accused Ankara of meddling in Libyan internal affairs.

    Tags:
    Libyan Government of National Accord, Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Libyan National Army (LNA), GNA, Tripoli, Turkey, Libya
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