Τurkey is pulling out of an Italian-hosted conference aiming to help Libya establish peace, Vice President Fuat Oktay said Tuesday.
The Turkish withdrawal came after the country’s delegation was excluded from a meeting between powerful military strongman Khalifa Haftar and several other countries.
“The informal meeting held this morning with a number of players and having them presented as the prominent protagonists of the Mediterranean is a very misleading and damaging approach which we vehemently oppose,” Oktay said.
According to Oktay, the Turkish delegation was leaving the summit “with deep disappointment.”
“Libya cannot be stabilized as long as some countries continue to crush the process in line with their own interests. Libya needs less foreign intervention, not more,” the vice president stressed.
“Unlike the others, we are open to a broad dialogue with all Libyan and regional actors. It is impossible for those who are responsible for the current difficult situation in Libya to make any positive contribution to the country’s recovery.”
Libya’s two main rival leaders — Haftar, who rules most of the east, and U.N.-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj — met for the first time in more than five months in Palermo, Sicily.
Italy’s populist government organized the two-day conference in hopes of making progress on ending Libya’s lawlessness and promoting a U.N. framework for eventual elections.
But expectations were limited, with Haftar’s camp making clear that he wasn’t participating in the conference itself but rather meeting with leaders of neighboring countries on the sidelines.