Duvar English - Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 5 that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Libya would be an "important signal" as both leaders vowed to support the new interim government there, a German government spokesman said.
Libya's new unity government was sworn in on March 15 from two warring administrations that had ruled eastern and western regions, completing a relatively smooth transition of power after a decade of violent chaos.
Turkey had backed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord against the eastern-based Libyan National Army, which was supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.
Merkel and Erdoğan agreed in a video conference to support the interim government of Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh in its efforts to improve the supply situation for the population and in preparing elections by year-end, the spokesman said.
"The Chancellor emphasized that an early start of the withdrawal of foreign soldiers and mercenaries would send an important signal," the spokesman added.
On May 3, Libya's Foreign Minister Najla al-Manqoush called on Turkey to comply with the U.N. resolutions and expel foreign fighters from Libyan territory.
Her remarks came at a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
Çavuşoğlu responded by saying that Turkish forces were in Libya as part of an agreement that was reached with the previous Libya administration.
According to the United Nations, there are as many as 20,000 foreign fighters -- including Syrian and Turkish -- operating in Libya currently.
Merkel and Erdoğan also discussed international efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as well as regional issues such as the civil war in Syria and international talks about the Cyprus issue, the German spokesman said.
"The Chancellor and the Turkish President emphasized that adequate access for humanitarian aid to the people in need in Syria must be maintained," the spokesman said.