Turkey says it discussed lasting ceasefire during Libya trip
TRIPOLI / ISTANBUL (Reuters) - High-ranking Turkish officials discussed a permanent ceasefire and political solution in Libya, as well as energy cooperation, during a visit to Tripoli on Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Minister said.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, along with the Turkish finance minister, national security advisor and chief of intelligence, met with the internationally recognized Libyan government after Turkey helped it fend off an offensive by the armed forces from the east.
Turkish support was critical to the Government of the National Agreement (GNA) when it rejected a 14-month Libyan National Army (LNA) campaign sponsored by Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt to conquer Tripoli.
"The goal of our visit was to emphasize our support for Libya in a powerful way. We had an exchange of views on a permanent ceasefire and a political solution," Cavusoglu told reporters when they returned to Turkey.
He said they were also discussing energy cooperation on a visit he said was very beneficial.
During a trip, which had not been previously announced, Turkish officials met the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and the head of the GNA oil company, the GNA said in a statement.
Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 revolution that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and has been divided between rival administrations in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi since 2014.
Ankara's intervention caused a sudden shift in the front lines this month as the pro-GNA forces pushed the LNA and its allies back from most of northwestern Libya towards the central coastal town of Sirte.
The GNA and LNA have returned to ceasefire talks, but the United Nations, which is mediating their discussions, has warned of a possible major escalation as arms and fighters flock to Libya despite an arms embargo.
The LNA still controls Eastern Libya and much of the south, where some of the major oil fields are located that generate the most external revenue.
The National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the Central Bank, the only agencies allowed to sell Libyan oil under international agreements, are in Tripoli under the GNA.
Oil exports were frozen for much of this year after forces from the east blocked the ports, including the main ones near Sirte.
Last week NOC resumed production on two of the major oil fields for a short time, but had to close it after a few hours.
(Reporting from Tripoli Newsroom; Additional reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Letter from Angus McDowall; Editing by Alex Richardson, Giles Elgood and Peter Cooney)
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