Middle East

Macron says Turkey's Erdogan wants foreign mercenaries out of Libya

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of the NATO summit, in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

PARIS, June 14 (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he had received assurances from Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan that he wanted foreign mercenaries to leave Libyan territory as soon as possible.

"We agreed to work on this withdrawal (of foreign mercenaries). It doesn't just depend on the two of us. But I can tell you President Erdogan confirmed during our meeting his wish that the foreign mercenaries, the foreign militias, operating on Libyan soil leave as soon as possible," Macron told a news conference at the end of a summit of NATO leaders in Brussels.

Macron was speaking after his first face-to-face with Erdogan in more than a year as tensions between the two NATO allies worsened especially over the conflict in Libya.

Turkey deployed troops to Libya under an accord on military cooperation signed with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), helping it repel an assault by forces from eastern Libya. It also sent thousands of Syrian fighters to Libya.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Richard Lough

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