Erdogan and Putin set 12 January deadline for Libya ceasefire

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will call for reaching cease-fire in Libya by midnight on Jan. 12, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday.

Cavusoglu spoke following a bilateral meeting between the two leaders in Istanbul, shortly after the inauguration ceremony of the TurkStream gas pipeline.

“We have decided to take the initiative and, as intermediaries, call on all parties in Libya to stop hostilities as of 00.00 hours on 12 January, declare a sustainable cease-fire, supported by the necessary measures to be taken for stabilizing the situation on the ground and normalizing daily life in Tripoli and other cities, and immediately come together around a negotiating table with a view to putting an end to the sufferings of the Libyan people and bring back peace and prosperity to the country,” a joint statement issued by the two leaders said.

The two leaders discussed bilateral ties, regional developments and establishing cease-fire in Libya in their meeting, Cavusoglu said.

The two countries also said the exchange of attacks by the U.S. and Iran could lead to a new cycle of instability in the region, as they urged both countries to de-escalate tensions and prioritize diplomacy.

The joint statement issued by the presidents underlined the worsening situation in Libya and its negative impact on “the security and stability of Libya’s wider neighborhood, the entire Mediterranean region, as well as the African continent, triggering irregular migration, further spread of weapons, terrorism and other criminal activities including illicit trafficking.”

“We reaffirm our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya. Lasting peace and stability in the country can only be achieved by a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process based on sincere and inclusive dialogue among Libyans,” it said.

The two sides also declared their support for the ongoing Berlin Process, which “aims to create a conducive atmosphere to revitalize the U.N. facilitated political process, and remind that the Process can yield tangible results, with the involvement and commitment of Libyans and neighboring countries.”

Turkish and Russian presidents urge Libya’s neighbors to help resolve conflict

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, said he hopes the ceasefire will embolden the Berlin process seeking to resolve the conflict.

“In a joint statement Presidents Erdogan and Putin urge parties to stop violence” Cavusoglu said. Lavrov added that they expect neighboring countries to actively join the Berlin process to help end the conflict.

Turkey ready to help achieve regional stability

Turkey stressed its willingness to mediate between the US and Iran as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepared to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Istanbul for the inauguration of TurkStream natural gas pipeline and to discuss escalating tensions in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Turkey will continue reiterating its call for acting with common sense and calm amid the US-Iran tension,” Erdogan’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin told reporters at press conference yesterday. Adding that Ankara’s main objective is to achieve a ceasefire in Libya.

“Turkey’s priority in Libya is the halt of clashes as soon as possible, and a ceasefire and we will cooperate with Russia on this issue,” he said.

Turkey has also been calling on Russia to end its support to Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad. A new influx of refugees is expected at the Turkish border as forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad move closer to Idlib. Erdogan told reporters last week “200,000 to 250,000 refugees are moving towards the Turkish border. We are trying to prevent them with some measures but it is not an easy task it is quite difficult.”

Turkey and Russia have also worked together with Iran to establish a constitutional committee in Syria. The committee began worked under the United Nations in Geneva in  November and provides some hope for a political solution to the Syrian war.

In its efforts to mediate between the US and Iran, Turkey Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is expected to head to Iraq tomorrow “within the context of our intensified diplomatic efforts to alleviate the escalated tension in the aftermath of recent developments in the region,” an official statement said today.