Qatar to send soldiers to Libya to support for GNA, says official

Qatar will begin sending military advisors to Libya to bolster the forces of the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, the body’s deputy defence minister said on Monday.

The comments came during a visit to the GNA by the defence ministers of Turkey and Qatar. They discussed increasing their military help to the government in Tripoli, despite international condemnation of foreign presence there.

Turkey has been providing troops, Syrian mercenaries it has trained and weapons to the Government of National Accord since January.

Its interference in the war has been heavily criticised by the EU, especially France, and countries including Egypt, Cyprus Bahrain and the UAE.

The Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Qatar’s Khalid Al Attiyah held discussions in the Libyan capital, Turkey’s Defence Ministry said.

They met GNA Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj and undersecretary of defence Salahedin Al Namroush.

Qatar agreed to send military advisers to train Libyan forces under the GNA and provide places for Libyan recruits at Turkish and Qatari military colleges, Libya’s Al Ahrar TV reported.

Turkey’s Defence Ministry said the visit by Mr Akar, who was accompanied by Chief of Staff Gen Yasar Guler, was to observe the operations under Ankara’s military co-operation deal with Libya.

Ankara has been assisting the GNA forces in their fight against the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, which is aligned with the House of Representatives’ administration in eastern Libya.

More than a year ago, Field Marshal Haftar’s forces launched a mission against the GNA in Tripoli and the militias it employed to defend it.

Libya has been divided since 2014 between factions based in the east and the west of the country.

Turkey and Russia, which backs the LNA, have emerged as the main power brokers in the Libyan conflict.

The leaders of the two countries discussed the situation in Libya on Monday.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also visited Tripoli on Monday and called for the continuation of peace efforts under a process agreed at an international conference in Berlin in January.

He did not meet the Turkish and Qatari delegations.

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