US President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Monday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the conflict in Libya and Syria’s Idlib.
“The two leaders discussed the need to eliminate foreign interference and maintain the ceasefire in Libya,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, speaking to reporters en route to Gambia from Algeria, Erdogan accused forces loyal to renegade Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar of violating two summits seeking peace in the country.
“Haftar – who turned his back on both the Moscow and Berlin summits – is violating the ceasefire in Libya. If peace is to be established in Libya, he should be stopped,” said Erdogan.
“Haftar and his forces are playing a dirty game, and we are watching them. We will continue to do whatever is necessary.”
On January 12, parties in Libya announced a ceasefire in response to a joint call by the leaders of Turkey and Russia. But two days later in Russia, talks for a permanent ceasefire ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.
A week later, Haftar accepted terms in Berlin to designate members to a UN-proposed military commission with five members from each side to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire.
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and another in Tripoli, which is recognised by the UN and majority of the international community.
The two leaders also discussed the fighting in Idlib, which has been the scene of fierce bombings by the Bashar al Assad regime and its allies.
Trump and Erdogan “agreed that the violence being carried out in Idlib, Syria must stop,” said Deere.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the zone since then as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
During the phone call, the two leaders also discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“President Trump also highlighted the importance of Turkey and Greece resolving their disagreements in the eastern Mediterranean,” said Deere.
The US president also offered condolences to his Turkish counterpart over the deadly earthquake in Turkey, according to the Turkish Communications Directorate.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck eastern Turkey last week tht resulted in the death of at least 41 people and wounded 1600 others.
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