Malta has urged “all foreign actors” to de-escalate their interventions in and around Libya and called for a UN-based peace accord to end violence in the north African country.
In a statement issued through the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Malta said it backed European Union calls for the international community to speak with one voice in support of the welfare of the Libyan people.
“A solution for peace, security, stability and ultimately prosperity in Libya requires a durable and comprehensive ceasefire, and an effective implementation of the arms embargo on Libya,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
Malta’s statement comes as tensions in the country are ratcheted up by Turkish plans to deploy troops into Libya to back the UN-recognised Tripoli government (GNA).
Libya’s parliament, which is allied with strongman Khalifa Haftar, has condemned the Tripoli government’s invitation to Turkey to intervene as “high treason”.
Other governments have also expressed alarm about the move. The Greek government warned Ankara not to cross “red lines” while US president Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart Recip Erdogan that “foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya”.
Egypt also strongly condemned the Turkish vote, saying it amounted to a "flagrant violation of international law and Security Council resolutions on Libya", while Israel, Cyprus and Greece denounced a "dangerous threat to regional stability"
A UN report in November said several countries were violating the arms embargo on Libya in place since the overthrow of Kadhafi in 2011.
Jordan and the UAE regularly supply Haftar's forces, it said, while Turkey supports the GNA. Turkish and Emirati drones were spotted in Libyan skies during clashes over the summer.
"We're supporting the internationally recognised legitimate government in Libya. Outside powers must stop supporting illegitimate groups against the Libyan government," Erdogan's communications director Fahrettin Altun tweeted last week.
Turkey has used its alliance with the Tripoli government to advance other interests.
It signed a military cooperation agreement with the GNA during a visit by its leader Sarraj to Istanbul in November.
But they also signed a maritime jurisdiction agreement giving Turkey rights to large swathes of the Mediterranean where gas reserves have recently been discovered.
The agreement drew international criticism, particularly from Greece, which says it ignores its own claims to the area.
Analysts say Ankara was responding to being frozen out of regional energy deals, notably the "East Mediterranean Gas Forum", formed this year by Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian territories.
Turkey's fierce rivalry with the military government in Egypt is seen as another motivating factor behind the planned deployment.
Erdogan strongly backed Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood government that was violently overthrown by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013.
Haftar has previously ordered his forces to target Turkish companies and arrest Turkish nationals. Six Turkish sailors were briefly held by his forces during the summer.
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