December 30, 2019 / 12:00 PM / 22 days ago

Merkel, Erdogan and Putin discuss diplomatic solution for Libya

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed efforts to reach a diplomatic solution for the Libyan conflict in separate phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, whose government intends to send troops to Libya, a government spokesman said on Monday.

Turkey’s foreign minister has warned that the Libyan conflict risks sliding into chaos and becoming the next Syria, as he sought to speed up domestic legislation to allow Ankara to send troops to the North African country.

Last week, Erdogan announced his government’s decision to seek parliamentary consent to send troops to Libya, at the request of Tripoli. The troops would help to defend Libya’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord against General Khalifa Haftar’s forces, which get military support from Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

A German foreign ministry spokesman in Berlin said Germany was following the reports about Turkey’s military plans in Libya with “great concern”. He urged all involved parties to exercise maximum restraint, respect an international embargo for arms exports to Libya and step up efforts for a diplomatic solution.

“A further exchange was agreed to strengthen diplomatic efforts,” the government spokesman said, adding that Merkel also discussed the developments in Syria with Erdogan and Putin during the phone calls, which took place on Sunday.

Germany has offered to host an international peace conference on Libya that the United Nations is planning. The conference could take place in Berlin after a planned meeting between Erdogan and Putin in January.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Larry King

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