Libya’s Prime Minister Dbeibah, 14 ministers to visit Turkey on Monday

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Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, the newly-selected prime minister of Libya, speaks during a press conference in Tripoli, Libya, on Feb. 25, 2021. (Photo by Hamza Turkia/Xinhua)

A large Libyan government delegation led by Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah will travel Monday to Turkey, a country playing a key role in the North African nation, Turkey’s foreign ministry said.

Dbeibah will be joined by 14 ministers and the head of the armed forces, a ministry official told AFP on Sunday, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan due to receive the delegation at the presidential palace in Ankara.

Analysts say the size of the delegation is an indication of the importance placed by Tripoli on its relations with Ankara, which has troops deployed in Libya under a deal with a new unity government led by Dbeibah.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu said officials from the two sides were expected to discuss boosting bilateral ties as well as treaties signed between Libya and Turkey.

A first meeting of the two countries’ Strategic Cooperation Council, set up by Ankara, will also take place during the visit, the Turkish presidency said.

Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, the newly-selected prime minister of Libya, speaks during a press conference in Tripoli, Libya, on Feb. 25, 2021. Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on Thursday presented the ministerial structure of his government to the House of Representatives. (Photo by Hamza Turkia/Xinhua)

The presence of Turkish troops in Libya has angered some Western countries, with the interim US ambassador to the UN calling in January for them to withdraw immediately, along with Russian forces.

Dbeibah was selected earlier this year through a UN-backed inter-Libyan dialogue to lead the country to national elections set for December 2021.

His government replaces two rival administrations based in Tripoli and the country’s east, the latter loyal to military general Khalifa Haftar, whose forces tried but failed to seize the capital in a 2019-20 offensive.

The rival Libyan authorities have given their backing to the new administration, adding to tentative hopes that the country can exit a decade of crisis.

Libya has been mired in chaos since former President Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

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