No country to send military to Libya while truce lasts: Çavuşoğlu
"We all agreed that as long as the truce, cease-fire is respected, nobody will send any additional advisors or troops or mercenaries from any neighboring countries and no more additional personnel; everybody is committed to that," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in an exclusive interview to Russia's RIA News Agency on Thursday.
The issue of sanctions will not be raised under the same condition, the minister said in an interview with Russia's RIA News Agency.
"We all agreed that as long as the truce, cease-fire is respected, nobody will send any additional advisors or troops or mercenaries from any neighboring countries and no more additional personnel; everybody is committed to that," the minister said, reminding that the UN Security Council Resolution 2259 addresses the issue of sanctions.
He also stressed that the same resolution recognizes the UN-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) as the only legitimate government and called on the armed groups to respect it.
The minister said the efforts, aiming to resolve Libyan crisis peacefully, will continue, and that he expects Germany, as organizer of the next meeting to be held in Berlin, to announce the date of gathering in the near future.
"I think [the next meeting on the Libyan settlement will take place] in the first week of February. But we have to get this date from Germans, from [Foreign Minister] Heiko Maas. I think he's coordinating this with other ministers who want to participate. We have already supported this idea to have a follow-up meeting," Çavuşoğlu said.
The minister added that east-Libya based commander Khalifa Haftar has not still named his representatives for the military committee, establishing for the Libyan warring sides to discuss the questions of the cease-fire and mark the contact line.
"Haftar for a long time didn't nominate his names. Sarraj did from the beginning. This is also what we put on the joint statement together in Moscow after he [Haftar] didn't sign [the agreement]. This military committee will be so important or can play a crucial role to sustain the ceasefire and also to define the confrontation lines between the two sides. But overall, it could be also a good confidence-building measure between Haftar and Sarraj side. The first meeting is of course important. We supported that initiative. I hope it will work. Libyans should start working together instead of staying in different buildings or different rooms. They should get together and work together for a sustainable peace, cease-fire and a lasting political solution," he said.
For now, Çavuşoğlu does not see any need in mediating the first meeting of the military committee, saying it would be better "to let them do it between themselves".
Turning to the second meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, Çavuşoğlu assessed it as "not very promising because of the conditions put forward by the regime".
"Since the committee has been functioning, we should let the Syrians draft the constitution or amend the constitution for their own country. If they need any expertise from us or from international community, then we can extend it, " he said.
Addressing Turkey's dispute with the EU regarding energy resources near Cyprus, Çavuşoğlu called on the EU "to play a balanced and objective role on issues".
"Just for the sake of solidarity, the EU is in condition of supporting its member states only. But it doesn't solve the problem. Instead of making statements or decisions against Turkey, they should find the way to settle this problem and they can be an honest broker.
"From the beginning, as a negotiating country, we told them that we are against those sanctions and Turkey will not join because candidate and negotiating countries [of the EU] are also expected to join the statements or decisions of the European Union," he said.
The minister said that Ankara even proposed to the EU "to be an honest broker" until this problem is resolved.
"The EU is obliged to defend the rights of Turkish Cypriots as well, not only Greek Cypriots, but unfortunately they have not been honest, they show double standards and hypocrisy. In particular on the Cyprus issue, we asked the EU and other actors to find a solution to guarantee the rights of the Turkish Cypriots on the hydrocarbon reserves, which has been denied by every side, including the Greek Cypriots.
"But they [the EU] haven't done anything to guarantee their rights. So on unilateral activities like drillings or exploration, I think, they should learn how to share and how to work together. The Turkish side is ready for that. This is also what we discussed, the two leaders, [Turkish] President Erdoğan and [Russian President] Putin, and in the future I think there is a room for cooperation between Turkey and Russia as well," Çavuşoğlu said.