And the European Union mission in Tripoli has been postponed: new violence is now feared
On Sunday, during an interview on television, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Turkey has started sending its soldiers to Libya to support the Libyan government led by Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj, based in Tripoli.
The Turkish soldiers will be employed mainly to train the Serraj militias, who have been trying to stop the military offensive started by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who controls the east and a piece of the south of the country and who would like to bring all of Libya under his control since April 2019. Haftar is supported by Russia, France, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries.
The Turkish move was widely announced: Turkey had passed a resolution on Thursday to send armed forces to Libya, following a previous memorandum signed by Erdoğan and Serraj. The decision to send military forces to Libya had, however, been criticised by several countries, in particular the European Union, which was concerned about a further escalation of violence in Tripoli.
AFP wrote that a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council is scheduled on Monday to discuss the situation in Libya, while the government in Tripoli announced that the European Union mission planned for Tuesday in the country – to be attended by, among others, the Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell – has been postponed.
On Saturday, a bombing of a military academy in Tripoli caused at least 30 deaths and 33 injuries. The Serraj government had accused the militias loyal to Haftar of the attack, which had denied any involvement. On Monday the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, reiterated that Italy is against any military means of resolving the conflict and is instead in favour of the use of diplomacy. With the increasing involvement of other countries, such as Turkey, and because of a weak foreign policy, Italy has lost the influence it had exercised for some time in Libya.