Presidents Erdogan and Trump discuss bilateral ties, regional developments, and trade target of $100 billion, during a phone call.

US President Trump and Turkey's President Erdogan gesture as they talk at the start of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018.
US President Trump and Turkey's President Erdogan gesture as they talk at the start of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018. (Reuters)

Turkish President Erdogan and US President Trump have agreed to work more closely on Libya to ensure lasting stability in the North African country, during a phone call.

"Erdogan and Trump agreed upon closer efforts between two allies, to ensure the trade target of $100 billion is reached and permanent stability is assured in Libya," the Turkish presidency said on Tuesday in a statement.

Erdogan and the US president "agreed to cooperate more closely, as allies, ... to promote lasting stability in Libya," it said.

Turkey supports the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, which is fighting against warlord Khalifa Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA).

The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and Russia back LNA. 

"President Trump and President Erdogan discussed positive trade issues between the United States and Turkey and underscored our belief in the need for a negotiated settlement of regional issues," said White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere on Twitter.

Ankara has previously said the United States needs to play a more active role in Libya.

READ MORE: Russian intervention in Libya should worry the US

Oil production blockade

Last week, Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) accused the United Arab Emirates of instructing illegal militias in Libya's civil war to reimpose a blockade of oil exports after the departure of the first tanker in six months.

Following the blockade, the US released a statement saying that foreign mercenaries have impeded the NOC's vital mission and "heightened the risk of confrontation in Libya," which led UAE to lose the blockade.

Haftar has been on the back foot after Turkish support helped the GNA turn back his 14-month assault on the capital Tripoli.

After the GNA gained ground, NOC also tried to restart production at the Sharara oilfield but said this effort was quickly shut down and accused Russian mercenaries fighting alongside Haftar of deploying there.

Civil war

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by the warlord Khalifa Haftar’s militias.

The UN recognises the Libyan government headed by Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj as the country's legitimate authority.

Egypt's meddling

LNA has given Cairo a green light to "protect Egypt and Libya national security."

Its financial and military supporter, UAE, issued a statement on Tuesday calling for an "immediate ceasefire and for wisdom to prevail" in Libya.

"The drums of the war raging around Sirte in Libya threaten serious developments and dangerous humanitarian and political consequences," Anwar Gargash said in a statement on Twitter.

Gargash also urged parties to the conflict in Libya to enter dialogue within clear international frameworks.

UN-recognised GNA forces are positioned Sirte and Jufra where Haftar's militias are controlling the oil fields.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies