Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said neither Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar nor the countries backing him want a political solution.

This file photo shows smoke rising from a port of Tripoli in  Libya  after being attacked. February 18, 2020.
This file photo shows smoke rising from a port of Tripoli in Libya after being attacked. February 18, 2020. (Reuters)

Warlord Khalifa Haftar cannot win the ongoing conflict in Libya, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

"The Haftar side doesn’t want a political solution in Libya, nor do the countries backing Haftar such as the UAE, Egypt, and Russian-backed Wagner [Group] mercenaries," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a televised interview.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival sides, one of which is run by the warlord Haftar.

Eastern-based militias under Hafter launched an offensive to take Tripoli in April 2019, and the turmoil in the oil-rich country has steadily worsened as foreign backers increasingly intervene — despite pledges to the contrary at a high-profile peace summit in Berlin earlier this year.

"Taking back the coastline from Tripoli to Tunisia, recapturing international airports, and progress made from air and land operations shows essentially that Haftar cannot win this war," Cavusoglu said.

Haftar’s militias recently stepped up their attacks, but the UN-recognized Libyan government under Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj began to repel them with a counterattack and captured key positions, said Cavusoglu.

The United Nations said on Tuesday it expects “things to get moving in the next few days” following the agreement by Libya’s warring parties to resume ceasefire negotiations following days of heavy fighting.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said acting UN envoy Stephanie Williams and the UN mission remain in direct contact with the UN-supported government in the capital Tripoli and warlord Hafter’s east-based militias “to figure out the next steps and the logistics about the resumption of the talks.”

Haftar's offensive is supported by France, Russia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other key Arab countries. 

The government in Tripoli is backed by Turkey, which deployed military advisers to help defend the capital in January, as well as by Italy and Qatar.

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday they welcomed an announcement that warring factions in Libya had agreed to resume ceasefire negotiations.

On recent developments in the US, Cavusoglu called for clear-headedness amid protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last week after being pinned down by a white police officer.

"It is unacceptable for police to kill any person in such a way, regardless of race or religion," said Cavusoglu.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies