Germany pushes for foreign troop pullout from Libya after interim govt affirmed

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Berlin

The German foreign minister on Thursday praised a vote by the Libyan parliament to back an interim government, urging foreign powers to move their troops out of the country.

“The next step that should be taken now is the withdrawal of foreign troops and soldiers, regardless of whether they are operating in Libya officially or unofficially,” Heiko Maas told a news conference.

Maas, who spoke after a meeting in Paris with his French, Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts, said the vote was a sign that major conflicts could be settled amicably.

Libya’s parliament on Wednesday mandated the unity government, which was elected last month by a UN-selected forum, to lead the war-torn North African country toward a national election in December.

Earlier, Speaker of Libya’s Tobruk-based House of Representatives (parliament) Aguila Saleh Issa says foreign military presence in Libya will end soon.

According to a Sunday release on the parliament’s website, “all that he [Saleh] ever wanted is the withdrawal of foreign forces, which will happen in the near future, and the distribution of sovereign positions among all parts of Libya.”

Saleh returned to Libya from Cairo on Sunday and was met by fellow parliamentarians, members of the Libyan National Army (LNA) at the airport.

According to the release on the parliament’s website, Saleh said upon his arrival that the new Libyan government should be given a chance.

On Saturday, Yassin Aktai, advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Sputnik that Turkey’s agreements with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Turkish military presence in Libya will not be affected by the election of a new transitional government.

On Friday, the Swiss-hosted Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) elected an interim unity government that will be in charge until a national general election scheduled for 24 December.

The LPDF elected Mohammad Younes Menfi, former GNA ambassador in Greece, as the new head of the Presidency Council.

Libya has been divided between two opposing governments since the overthrow and assassination of the country’s long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The administrations known as the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) control the country’s west and east, respectively.

In November of last year the two sides agreed to launch UN-led talks to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis.—AFP