Ankara and Moscow considering creation of joint working group to reach immediate ceasefire in North African country, a joint statement says.

Military engineers sort ammunition and explosives, uncovered from areas south of the capital, ahead of disposing of them in the Libyan capital Tripoli on July 22, 2020.
Military engineers sort ammunition and explosives, uncovered from areas south of the capital, ahead of disposing of them in the Libyan capital Tripoli on July 22, 2020. (AFP)

Turkey and Russia have agreed at talks in Ankara to continue joint efforts to create conditions for a lasting and sustainable ceasefire in Libya and are considering the creation of a joint working group. 

Ankara and Moscow also agreed in the talks to facilitate the advancement of intra-Libyan political dialogue and called upon the parties to take measures ensuring safe humanitarian access and delivery of urgent assistance to those in need, a joint statement on Wednesday, published by the Turkish foreign ministry said.

Ankara said warlord Khalifa Haftar's illegal militia must withdraw from key positions for any credible deal to emerge.

"We've just reached an agreement with Russia to work on a credible and sustainable ceasefire in Libya," President Erdogan's top security adviser Ibrahim Kalin told Reuters news agency.

Kalin said any deal must be based on a return to what he said were the Libyan frontlines in 2015, requiring Haftar's militia to pull back from the Mediterranean city of Sirte, gateway to Libya's eastern oilfields, and Jufra, an airbase near the centre of the country.

"For the ceasefire to be sustainable, Jufra and Sirte should be evacuated by Haftar's forces," Kalin said.

Syria type deal?

TRT World's Andrew Hopkins reporting from Ankara said Syria-type diplomacy is going on between Ankara and Moscow.

"They are backing different sides in Libya conflict… they are looking at setting up a working group to specifically coordinate on Libya and looking to have another meeting in Moscow soon. Russia and Turkey want to work more closely than ever before."

READ MORE: Resumption of Libya talks on table as Egypt green-lights troop deployment

Intervention of foreign powers

Russia, alongside Egypt and the UAE, back eastern-based warlord Haftar, whose illegal militia have been battling the forces of Libya's UN-recognised government, which is supported by Turkey.

Egypt's parliament approved possible military intervention in Libya via the deployment of armed forces abroad to fight "terrorist groups" and "militias" on Monday.

The Libyan government forces have moved closer to the central city of Sirte, the gateway to oil-exporting ports that they hope to recapture from Haftar's militias. 

Egypt has declared the Sirte front line "a red line" for Egypt.

"There is a military buildup on the ground around Sirte city," TRT World's Sara Firth, who's in Tripoli, said.

She said the meeting of Turkish and Russian officials carries weight because both sides are two major foreign backers in Libya conflict, who are now "trying to pull things back from the brink of a military confrontation."

READ MORE: Egypt's Parliament approves military intervention in Libya

Govt successes  

Since April 2019, Haftar's militias have launched attacks on the Libyan capital of Tripoli and other parts of northwestern Libya, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, including civilian women and children.

However, the Libyan government has recently achieved significant victories, pushing Haftar's militants out of Tripoli and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

READ MORE: Libyan army heads for front to liberate Sirte from Haftar's militias

READ MORE: Turkey foiled 'invasion plan' in Libya – Erdogan

Source: TRTWorld and agencies