Turkish FM meets Libyan PM-designate in Tripoli

Turkish FM meets Libyan PM-designate in Tripoli

Breaking precedent, Turkey’s newly-appointed FM pays first official visit to war-battered Libya

By Hamdi Yildiz

TRIPOLI (AA) - Turkey will continue to support Libya's UN-backed unity government, newly-appointed Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday after meeting with Libyan Prime Minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj at a military base in Tripoli.

Speaking at a subsequent press conference, Cavusoglu noted that Turkish prime ministers and foreign ministers traditionally paid their first official visits to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus or Azerbaijan, but that he -- as a member of Turkey’s 65th government -- had decided to pay his first visit to Libya.

Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey would contribute to war-torn Libya’s reconstruction, asserting: "Turkey and Turkish companies will play an important role in meeting all of Libya’s needs, especially in the fields of energy and road and airport construction."

The Turkish foreign minister also addressed problems frequently encountered by Libyan nationals who sought visas to Turkey.

"We have given the necessary instructions to our consulates in Libya regarding the extension of Turkish visas to Libyans," he said.

"We have begun e-visa applications and authorized some private companies to begin granting visas," Cavusoglu added.

In a related development, Turkish humanitarian aid began arriving to Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport on Monday.

The humanitarian aid, supplied by the Turkish Red Crescent, included ten tons of food and medical supplies.

"The Turkish Red Crescent is not indifferent to Libya’s plight," the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Middle East deputy manager, Kemal Onur Ozceri, told Anadolu Agency at the airport.

"These donations illustrate Turkey’s solidarity with our Libyan brothers ahead of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan," he said.

Ozceri stressed that Turkey would continue to assist and support the troubled North African nation.

"Turkey attends all international meetings on Libya… We know Libya and follow it closely," he said. "We regard all parts of Libya equally and feel their suffering."

The Turkish Red Crescent currently boasts almost 700 branches worldwide, making it one of the most active members of the International Red Crescent/Red Cross Association.

* Anadolu Agency correspondents Sibel Ugurlu and Ahmet Sait Akcay contributed to this report from Ankara

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