Trump, Erdogan discuss need to end foreign interference in Libya as Oil chief urges west to call out foreign meddling in African conflict

Turkish resident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed developments in Libya and Syria's northwestern Idlib province in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump, the White House said Tuesday.

The telephone conversations between the two presidents was after the concerns raised by  the head of the Libyan national oil corporation that the World powers will be complicit in the collapse of the rule of law in Libya if they do not do more to call out the countries backing those responsible for disrupting the country’s oil exports.

Mustafa Sanalla alleged that too many western powers were happy to let the countries meddling in Libya sign non-intervention agreements that they had no intention of honouring, adding that Libya was facing “a disaster and a nightmare” as a nine-day blockade of oil ports by forces loyal to the Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by Gen Khalifa Haftar, continued. Oil production has fallen from 1.2m barrels a day to 260,000 barrels.

"Production would soon drop to 70,000 barrels, and the cumulative impact would be a loss of $440m."  "It would soon be impossible to pay 1.3m public sector salaries in east and west Libya, requiring the country to look for loans on the international market.

He said the production blockage could also be causing long-term damage to Libyan pipelines, as crude oil left in pipes will corrode them.
Libyan Oil chief Mustafa Sanalla
“The international community has to understand that if it tolerates or even rewards those who break the law in Libya, then it will be complicit in the end of the rule of law in our country. And that means more corruption, more crime, more injustice and more poverty.”

"Erdogan and Trump discussed the need to eliminate foreign interference and maintain the cease-fire in Libya," White House spokesman Judd Deere said on Twitter.

Earlier in the day, speaking to reporters en route to Gambia from Algeria, Erdoğan accused forces loyal to renegade Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar of trying to obstruct two summits seeking peace in the country.

"Haftar – who turned his back on both the Moscow and Berlin summits – is violating the cease-fire in Libya. If peace is to be established in Libya, he should be stopped," said Erdoğan.

Eastern-based forces loyal to Haftar continue their attacks targeting residences and civilians to capture the capital Tripoli from the U.N.-recognized legitimate government, despite calls for a cease-fire at the Berlin conference. A report said

On Jan. 12, the conflicting parties announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by the Turkish and Russian presidents. But the talks for a permanent cease-fire deal ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal. Similarly, an attempt by the international community to find a solution to the Libyan crisis in the German capital Berlin on Jan. 19 remained inconclusive. Since then, attacks by Haftar's forces have continued without regard to civilians.

Since the ouster of late ruler Moammar Gadhafi 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 enjoys U.N. and international recognition.

Russian and US Presidents can be said to be supporting the Eastern General as President Trump last year praised the strong man for foghting and defeating the terrorists in Libya while Russian private military is reportedly supporting the Eastern forces in the battle fields.

France is also said to be given supports to the Hafter forces while Turkey has deployed troops and proxy to back the Tripoli government.

Sanalla, an oil technocrat and not a politician said the world powers “seem happy when they secure agreement from a wide range of countries to international statements calling for ceasefires and political settlements. But they know that many of those countries will sign anything and then continue to supply weapons to the war fighters, and to pour poison into social media with their sophisticated disinformation campaigns, undermining the very solutions they have officially supported.

“We need not just words but action from UN security council members, particularly the UK, US and France, who all pride themselves on their support for the rule of law. We need them to call out the hypocrisy of those countries – or those within their governments – who prefer instead to pursue their own national interests at the expense of the Libyan people.”

“The world superpowers have to give the facts to the Libyan people about responsibility for the shutdown of the oilfields.” “We know there is a proxy war in Libya, but it is for the superpowers to fix this. When superpowers say stop it, it stops,” he said.

He said a systematic campaign on Libyan social media, originating in the east of the country and from countries that support eastern forces, had kickstarted a “shut down oil” movement.

Turkish and US presidents also discussed the fighting in Idlib, which has been the scene of fierce bombings by the Assad regime and its allies.

Trump and Erdoğan "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.

Trump also offered condolences to Erdoğan over Friday's deadly earthquake in eastern Turkey, the Presidential Communications Directorate said Tuesday.

The 6.8-magnitude quake shook the eastern Elazığ province late on Friday, killing 41 people, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). Tremors were also felt in neighboring countries including Syria and Georgia.

In a statement, the directorate said that Trump told Erdoğan over the phone that he stands by Turkey after the powerful earthquake.

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