Russia, Turkey, UN discuss Libya ahead of June Berlin talks

Turkey, Russia and the United Nations discussed the future of Libya in Moscow on Monday, ahead of talks in Berlin due to take place later this month.

The three countries agreed on the need to strengthen international initiatives supervised by the UN to support Libyan elections in December, Daily Sabah reported on Tuesday, citing a statement by the Kremlin.

Germany will host peace talks on Libya on June 23 after a conference held in Berlin in January last year.

The foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France - along with Turkey, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), are set to attend the talks.

The Libyan transitional government, the Government of National Unity (GNU), will also take part in the meeting.

Libya’s elections are scheduled for Dec. 24.

Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia's special envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal and U.N. special envoy to Libya Jan Kubis reiterated their support for the GNU at the Moscow meeting, Daily Sabah said.

Libya’s civil war started in 2011, when a NATO-led intervention overthrew President Muammar al-Gadhafi government. The North African country split into two factions - the United Nations-recognised GNA in the capital Tripoli and rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east of the country. The two sides agreed a ceasefire in October.

Turkey has been a firm supporter of the Tripoli-based GNA in its fight against General Haftar’s self-styled LNA forces, which are supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Turkey’s increased military involvement in Libya since December 2019, through the deployment of military and intelligence personnel, drones and hundreds of mercenaries from Syria, tipped the balance of the conflict in favour of the GNA, pushing Haftar’s forces back from the outskirts of Tripoli.