Ankara will no stop supporting its Libyan allies despite Egypt’s warnings that it could proceed with a “direct” intervention if forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) march towards the strategic city of Sirte, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a senior Turkish official.
On Saturday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi also ordered the country’s army to be ready to carry out missions inside or outside of the country to protect its national security amid tensions over Turkey’s intervention in Libya.
Later in the day, GNA denounced el-Sisi’s threat of military intervention, labelling it as a “declaration of war.”
“This is a hostile act, direct interference and amounts to a declaration of war,” the Tripoli-based GNA, led by Fayez al-Sarraj said in a statement.
“Sisi’s statements have no basis,” the Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity, adding that “Turkey and Libya will not turn back from their determination.” He added that GNA with Turkish support is continuing preparations to recapture Sirte and the Jufra region further south.
Libya has been torn by conflict since 2011, when the NATO-backed uprising overthrown the longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
In the war-torn country, the internationally-recognised GNA is clashing with the forces of Libya’s National Army (LNA) under the command of General Khalifa Haftar.
On June 6, el-Sisi proposed the “Cairo Declaration and Cairo Initiative” and called for a number of measures, including a ceasefire on June 8, elections for a presidential council by the Libyan people under the auspices of the UN, the departure of all mercenaries from Libya, and the resumption of the 5+5 military talks.