UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM TURKISH PRESIDENT, ITALIAN PREMIER
By Sena Guler and Zafer Fatih Beyaz
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey hopes to soon see the signing of a cease-fire in the war-battered North African nation of Libya, the nation’s president said on Monday.
“I especially hope for the signing of a cease-fire agreement [in Libya] sometime soon,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference in the Turkish capital Ankara alongside Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Erdogan said a Turkish delegation and all related parties to the conflict in Libya are now holding a meeting in the Russian capital Moscow, which he said would lay the groundwork for the Berlin Process.
The meeting in Moscow is being held to assist the talks between Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s UN-recognized government in Tripoli, and Libya's renegade general Khalifa Haftar.
Since last September, as part of what is known as the Berlin process, several high-level meetings were held in the German capital to put an end to the Libyan conflict with the participation of France, Italy, Germany, and the U.K.
On Sunday, the warring sides in the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a call by Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The cease-fire took effect at midnight local time (2200GMT), and the decision was celebrated with fireworks in Tripoli.
-‘Conflict to political process’
Conte, for his part, said the cease-fire in Libya would pave the way for an important opportunity and he hopes the country will enter a peaceful process.
Conte said that thanks to the Berlin Process, tension in Libya will turn into a political process.
"An undivided, independent and sovereign Libya. This is the aim," he said, adding that Italy will use all its capabilities to help realize democracy.
Also touching on the situation in Idlib, northwestern Syria, where a Saturday cease-fire succeeded a fall 2018 de-escalation declaration that had often been violated, Erdogan stressed they expect Italy’s support to maintain the status of the region.
Erdogan highlighted the importance of maintaining the cease-fire in Idlib.
Turning to sports, Erdogan said this June 12 the Turkish National Football Team will face Italy in the opening match of UEFA EURO 2020 in Rome. He wished success to both teams.
Conte and Erdogan “decided between ourselves that we will watch the match together,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish Communications Directorate said earlier that Erdogan received Conte at the presidential complex in Ankara. The closed-door meeting lasted for over an hour.
*Writing by Burak Dag