Turkey, Egypt say they will cooperate more closely on Libya
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Ankara and Cairo will cooperate more closely regarding Libya, where they back opposing sides, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, marking another step in the rapprochement between the two regional powers.
Cavusoglu’s comments come as the two countries work to mend ties after being at odds for a decade, having cut diplomatic links following the overthrow of Egypt’s then president and Ankara ally Mohamed Mursi.
Cavusoglu visited Cairo last month while Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry previously came to Turkey to show solidarity after February’s massive earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria.
Among the disputes between the two countries was the conflict in Libya.
“We will cooperate more closely regarding Libya from now on. In our meeting today, we (saw) that our views are not essentially very different but that we think differently on some methods,” Cavusoglu said during a news conference in Ankara.
The two countries will work on a roadmap to hold elections in Libya and can work on training and reinforcing a joint military between forces in the east and west of Libya, he said.
“We share a common desire with Turkey to hold elections in Libya,” Shoukry said.
Libya has had little peace since the 2011 NATO-backed ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, and it split in 2014 between rival eastern and western factions, with the last major battle of the conflict ending in 2020 with a ceasefire.
The political process to resolve the conflict, however, has been stalled since the collapse of a scheduled election in December 2021 over disputes about the rules, including the eligibility of major candidates.
The last major international attempt to break the deadlock, via a 2020 political forum, led to formation of the current interim government and the roadmap for the December 2021 election that was thwarted by internal political disputes.
Cavusoglu and Shoukry also said the two countries would take steps to re-appoint ambassadors and hold a summit between their leaders.
“We agreed on a specific time frame to raise the level of diplomatic relations with Turkey and to prepare for a summit between the two presidents,” Shoukry said.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul and Enas Alashray in Cairo; Editing by Daren Butler and Bill Berkrot)