Turkey has intensified talks with Russia and the European Union for a lasting ceasefire and de-escalation in Libya amid concerns that the two warring sides are concluding their preparations for a new campaign to control the strategic town of Sirte.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held phone conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and EU’s high representative for foreign and security policy, Josep Borrell, late July 23.
The Çavuşoğlu-Lavrov conversation followed the Turkish-Russian high-level consultation talks on July 21 and 22 in Ankara which resulted in a four-article agreement that stipulates the establishment of a joint working group for Libya.
“Following up on Russian-Turkish interdepartmental consultations in Ankara on July 21-22, both ministers reaffirmed the need for the further exchange of views on ways to expedite stabilization in Libya, the cessation of hostilities there and the establishment of a U.N.-mediated intra-Libyan dialogue,” read a written statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry after the phone conversation.
Likewise, Çavuşoğlu spoke with Borrell on the developments concerning Libya and the eastern Mediterranean. “We agreed on need to de-escalate tensions and meet ahead of informal Gymnich Council. We also agreed to work together on cease fire in Libya in framework of Berlin process,” Borrell said on Twitter.
Borrell’s talk with Çavuşoğlu comes after the EU foreign ministers discussed future ties with Turkey at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on July 13 upon a call from France.
Borrell has later spoke with internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, as he outlined “de-escalation around Sirte/Jufra, agreement on credible ceasefire, the urgent resumption of oil production” as common priorities of Brussels and Tripoli.
“We must work together within Berlin process to end conflict with genuine commitment from all sides to save unity of Libya,” he also stressed.
[HH] South Caucasus on Turkish-Russian agenda
Apart from the recent developments concerning Libya, Turkish and Russian top diplomats have also discussed the worrying situation in the South Caucasus where Armenia and Azerbaijan are engaged in heavy clashes on the border.
“In connection with the recent escalation of violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Russian side emphasized the need for a balanced approach and containment of the parties involved in the conflict to prevent the further aggravation of the situation, ensure security on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and intensify efforts for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process,” read the statement issued by Moscow.
It also informed that Turkey and Russia agreed to develop cooperation to stabilize the region.
Turkey strongly supports Azerbaijan against the Armenian attacks and occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh since the early 1990s.