New Algerian President wades into Libyan crisis

Presidency officials said President Tebboune started his efforts by receiving al-Sarraj, who paid a quick visit to Algiers on Monday and has since met with leaders from other countries.

Algeria has begun intensive diplomatic activities aimed at containing the crisis in Libya by preventing military escalation in the neighbouring nation.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune held separate talks with Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord in Libya, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, a Xinhua news agency report said.

The newly elected Algerian President is trying to deliver his promise made in December when he was sworn in that Algeria would never accept to be excluded from any process aiming at reaching a solution to the Libyan crisis.

Presidency officials said Tebboune started his efforts by receiving al-Sarraj, who paid a quick visit to Algiers on Monday. During the meeting, the Algerian leader urged the international community to work on stopping the escalation in Libya, as more victims are killed every day.

Tebboune reaffirmed the commitment of Algeria to work on “distancing the region from foreign interference, as this threatens the interests of the peoples of the region and the unity of their nations, while affecting regional and international peace and security.”

He urged the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to assume responsibilities by imposing an immediate ceasefire in Libya, and ending the military escalation there, while urging “external parties to stop fueling this escalation through their military support to warring parties.”

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He also called for resuming the dialogue “in order to reach sustainable political solution to the Libyan crisis.”

Al-Sarraj’s visit came in light of the military escalation in Libya between the forces loyal to the UN-backed government in the capital of Tripoli, and the eastern-based militia loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who seeks to take over control of Tripoli.

It also came after the Turkish parliament approved of sending troops to Libya at the request of the Government of National Accord.

Then the Algerian president on Tuesday held talks with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, which focused on the Libyan crisis.

The two discussed “military escalation caused by foreign interference, which hampers efforts aiming at reaching a political solution as the only way to restore security, peace and stability throughout the territory of Libya,” said a statement of the presidency.

Tebboune and Cavusoglu agreed on the need to avoid any violent actions likely to aggravate the situation, vowing to spare no effort aiming at reaching a cease-fire.

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They also expressed the wish that the planned international conference on Libya due in Germany would be the beginning of reaching a comprehensive political settlement of the crisis, which will guarantee the unity of Libya’s people and territory and preserve its national sovereignty.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday held a phone call with Tebboune, in which she invited the Algerian leader to attend Berlin’s conference on Libya.

Algeria and Germany share “convergent views on the Libyan crisis, as they both favor political solution and urge immediate cessation of armed clashes and put an end to foreign military interventions,” the presidency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Tebboune invited his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Algeria, the presidency said on Tuesday.

The invitation was accepted as the date of the visit will be determined in the coming days, the statement added.

Algeria is aware of the growing role of Turkey in the Libyan crisis, after Ankara started deploying troops in Tripoli at the request of the Government of National Accord, to repel the advance of the forces loyal to Haftar, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia.

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Algeria, which shares 1,000-km border with Libya, fears the fallout of any potential “proxy war” in Libya between influential international powers.

Therefore, Algeria is motivated to stop this danger to its national security, while it has deployed thousands of troops to the border with Libya.

Libya has been locked in a civil war since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.

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