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Erdogan says Turkey aims to boost ties with Libya's GNA

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Istanbul, Turkey, October 4, 2020. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTER

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday Turkey aims to strengthen relations with Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) after a meeting with the country’s prime minister, who plans to step down this month.

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj signed a military cooperation deal with Erdogan last year that turned the tide in the GNA’s favour in a conflict against eastern Libyan forces under Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

After a meeting between the men and their top deputies in Istanbul, the Presidency said Turkey will continue to stand in “full solidarity” with the GNA, aims to strengthen ties and remains ready to provide all kinds of support.

Last month Erdogan said Turkey was upset by ally Sarraj’s decision to step down. Serraj’s government declared a ceasefire on Aug. 21 in the north African country’s conflict.

The Ankara-Tripoli military deal was signed alongside a maritime demarcation agreement that emboldened Turkey to ramp up hydrocarbon exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, prompting an ongoing clash with Greece and Cyprus over territorial rights.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer and Can Sezer; Editing in Daniel Wallis

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