Erdogan vows to defend Tripoli government after Libya talks fail

After seven hours of indirect talks, the leaders of Libya’s rival factions left Moscow Monday without agreeing on a cease-fire deal.

Russian and Turkish officials — which back opposing sides — had led the effort but came away empty handed when Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Hifter refused to sign a draft proposal he claimed did not satisfy his conditions.

In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday he would continue defending the internationally recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA). Speaking before the Turkish Parliament, Erdogan said Hifter had “run away” from cease-fire deal and vowed Turkey would not refrain from teaching the eastern Libyan commander “a lesson” if his LNA forces proceed with their 10-month-long offensive on Tripoli.

“The coup-plotting Hifter first said yes but then fled Moscow,” Erdogan said. “We have completed our duty; the rest is the duty of Mr. Putin and his team.”

The next round of peace talks are scheduled for Sunday at a long-delayed Berlin Conference, where international leaders will attempt once more to end a conflict that has gripped Libya since the fall of former Prime Minister Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Though the Moscow talks ended without results, some analysts note that Russian and Turkish leadership in establishing a shaky cease-fire Sunday and bringing the Libyan opponents into negotiations has been a diplomatic victory for Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Read the full story on Al Monitor.