European Council Charles Michel - Reuters
CAIRO - 11 January 2020: President of the European Council Charles Michel will visit Egypt this week in a tour that includes Turkey, at the time where Libyan crisis sees a stand-off.
According to the weekly schedule of the European Council’s president as published on the council’s official website, Michel will meet on Sunday with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo. Michel will sit with Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan on Saturday in Istanbul.
The visit of the President of the European Council to the region coincides with the visit of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Germany prepares for Berlin Conference on Libya.
Europe has rejected foreign interference in the Libyan affairs, and condemned the Turkish military intervention in Libya to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli.
The European Union’s top diplomat and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Italy condemned on Tuesday Turkey’s plans to send military experts and trainers to Libya, saying foreign interference there was exacerbating instability, according to Reuters.
The British agency also reported that the ministers and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held talks in Brussels to call for a ceasefire as Libya’s internationally recognized government struggled to fend off a military offensive on its power base in the capital.
“Continuing outside interference is fuelling the crisis,” the ministers and Borrell said in their joint statement released after the meeting, as quoted by Reuters.
In remarks to reporters, Borrell said: “It is obvious that this made a reference to the Turkish decision to intervene with their troops in Libya, which is something that we reject,” Reuters reported.
Khalifa Haftar, chief of the Libyan National Army, on December 12th announced a “decisive” and “final battle” in Tripoli to “set it free” from armed militias. On January 6, 2020, the Libyan National Army forces seized the city of Sirte after attacking from five military axes to control several vital areas in the city such as Sirte port and Ghardabiya Airbase
In response, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to send Turkish troops to fight along with forces of the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA), Haftar’s rival.