Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides has been working the phones Thursday and Friday, discussing with his counterparts of other nations the situation in Libya and a need for de-escalation.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Christodoulides had phone conversations with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, as well as the foreign ministers of Russia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan.
The Cypriot minister, a former career diplomat in the Republic of Cyprus, reportedly had conversations about the situation in the broader Mediterranean region while discussing “the need for any illegal actions to be avoided as well as the need to create conditions so that the crisis in Libya is de-escalated,” according to CNA.
Libyan National Army (LNA) forces led by Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar are challenging the Government of National Accord (GNA), a transitional administration in Tripoli recognized by the United Nations and led by Fayez al Sarraj.
Christodoulides stressed the need for any illegal actions to be avoided as well as the need to create conditions to de-escalate the Libya crisis
But Haftar, a dual Libyan-American citizen and powerful warlord who helped launch Gaddafi to power in 1969, has been challenging Tripoli for months and his troops have been closing in on the capital.
Turkey is reportedly getting ready to offer military support to GNA, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans which would include sending ethnic Turkmen groups from Syria to battle anti-GNA forces.
The Turkish support would come following an Ankara-Tripoli deal on maritime borders and military cooperation, which has angered countries in the region including Greece, Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt.
Egypt, along with the UAE, have taken a stake in Haftar, with Russia also criticising Turkey over the recent decision, while Ankara has accused Moscow of providing figthers to help Haftar's advance.
There were mixed signals from the United States earlier this year after President Donald Trump phoned Haftar “as a favour” to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who had just visited Washington.
But this week, Trump spoke with Sisi, with the two men reportedly denouncing foreign exploitation regarding libya. Sisi also agreed the same with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a separate phone call.
Christodoulides’ calls to de-escalate the situation in Libya come as Turkey prepares to deploy troops and naval forces to support GNA.
According to foreign observers, Turkey’s involvement in Tripoli could complicate international efforts to end civil wars in Libya since the fall of strongman Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011.
But Ankara insists troops, contingent on the approval of Turkish parliament expected early next January, would be going in on the formal request of an internationally-recognized government which is under threat.