The Libyan crisis at the heart of a telephone conversation between Russian leaders Vladimir Putin and Turkish Recep Tayipp Erdogan. The Russian and Turkish presidents notably pledged to help establish contact between the belligerents of the crisis and to support the mediation efforts of the United Nations, said a press release from the Kremlin.
The contact comes amid growing tensions in the North African country, where fighting pits the forces of the national unity government – backed by the UN – against the forces of Marshal Haftar, who controls the east of the country. Last Thursday, Haftar, whose first attempt in April to take the capital Tripoli ended in failure, announced a new offensive. Since then, heavy fighting has broken out in the southern suburbs of Tripoli.
In addition to this harmful climate, it is above all the influence and the increased interference of the Allied powers that worries. Sarraj’s government is supported by Italy, Turkey and Qatar, while Haftar’s army is supported by France and certain key Arab countries, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
In recent days, Turkey has made no secret of its desire to strengthen its role in the Libyan crisis, notably by deploying soldiers alongside the GNA troops. A suggestion strongly rejected by Egypt, Ankara’s great regional rival. Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi denounced any desire to control neighboring Libya, two days after a meeting behind closed doors, Sunday, in Istanbul, between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leader of the Libyan Government of national union (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj.
Russia, it is a balancing act in this crisis born of the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Mouscou has maintained contacts with the two parties in conflict, but the Tripoli government has recently accused Russian military contractors to fight alongside Marshal Haftar – which Moscow has denied.