Erdogan, Putin discuss Libya, Syria over phone

The Turkish and Russian presidents on Monday spoke over the phone to discuss developments in war-weary Libya and Syria as well as other regional issues, the Turkish Communications Directorate said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to maintain coordination for regional peace, security and stability.

The presidents also discussed steps to be taken to strengthen economic relations, and cooperation against COVID-19.

Diplomat Stresses Russia Does Not Deliver Arms to Libya, Does Not Violate UN Arms Embargo

Russia does not deliver weapons to Libya and does not breach the United Nations Security Council's arms embargo, Russia's charge d'affaires ad interim in the North African country, Jamshed Boltaev, said in an interview.

"As for the weapons in Libya, we used to deliver arms before the sanctions were introduced, but we certainly do not do it now, we do not violate the embargo", Boltaev said.

It would be absolutely "pointless" for the country to breach the arms embargo, the diplomat explained.

Russia firmly refutes the United States' accusations of interfering in Libya's affairs and keeps stressing that it is interested in a peaceful solution to the long-ongoing crisis in the country, which has long been split between two rival administrations.

Account in Russian Bank for Libya's Oil Money

It is too early to discuss the possibility to open an account in a Russian bank for revenue procured from Libya's oil sales before a political solution is found to the Libyan crisis, Russia's charge d'affaires ad interim in the North African country, Jamshed Boltaev believes.

"There is no sense in discussing this before there is any stable political settlement. Oil sales are an important source of income for Libya, and it is up to Libyans to decide where they will open accounts and how they will export oil", Boltaev said.

Being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Russia favours Libya's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and believes that all the differences should be settled diplomatically, the diplomat noted.

"As for the tribes' initiative, I believe we cannot say that Russia supports this exact initiative. We would back any decision aimed at conflict settlement, peaceful dialogue and creation of common authorities", Boltaev added.

This is why Russia has supported Saleh's peace initiative, the diplomat explained.

"It takes into considerations the interests of all the sides. It is suggested that three regions in Libya — Fezzan, Cyrenaica and Tripolitania — nominate representatives and hold negotiations. Of course, all this should be preceded by a ceasefire, which is not maintained yet", Boltaev specified.

Sheikh Senussi al-Haleeq, the deputy chairman of the Supreme Council of Libyan Sheikhs and Elders, said in late June that the council wanted to open a bank account in Russia to deposit the oil revenue and ensure an equal split of resources between Libya's regions. Shortly after, Aguila Saleh, the president of the Tobruk-based Libyan parliament, said that he would not mind using an account in a Russian bank to deposit the oil profit.

Ankara Accuses Brussels of Double Standards in EU Policy on Libya – Foreign Ministry

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the EU policy on Libya was a manifestation of double standards.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said that EU ministers of foreign affairs had agreed during the Monday meeting in Brussels to ensure the effectiveness of the Operation IRINI to control the arms embargo on Libya. According to Borrell, the ministers agreed to urge Turkey to comply with the UN embargo on arms supplies to the North African country.

"If the EU wants to contribute to a peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis, it must abandon the double standards associated with the Operation IRINI and support international legitimacy [of the Libyan National Army] in accordance with the decisions of the UN Security Council," Aksoy said in a statement.

According to the diplomat, Turkey has been saying from the very beginning of the crisis in Libya that there is no military solution to it and that Ankara is contributing to international efforts to intensify the political process in this country under the auspices of the UN.

Libya has been suffering from internal conflict since its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011. At the moment, the east of the country is ruled by the parliament, while the west is controlled by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which was formed with the help of the United Nations and the European Union. The authorities in the east cooperate with the Libyan National Army (LNA), which has been attempting to take control of Tripoli.

On 31 March, the European Union launched Operation IRINI, which succeeded Operation Sophia. The latter mission focused on rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea but ended when the Italian authorities stopped accepting rescue vessels carrying migrants.

The European Union has said Operation IRINI’s main task is to fully enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya through the use of maritime, aerial and satellite assets.