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Türkiye set to soon reopen consulate in eastern Libya: Foreign minister

VALETTA, Malta

Türkiye is set to soon reopen its consulate general in Benghazi, eastern Libya, the Turkish foreign minister said Tuesday.

“Türkiye does not want any renewed conflict in Libya,” Hakan Fidan told a joint press conference with his Maltese counterpart Ian Borg at the Prime Ministry Palace in Valletta, the capital of Malta, an island nation some hundreds of kilometers (miles) off the coast of Libya.

“We want Libya to resolve its problems through dialogue. We also do not want the current existing division between the east and west to become permanent,” said Fidan.

“Türkiye’s relations with the eastern side are improving. Joint work with actors in the region is underway,” Fidan said, adding that Turkish companies in the region have also resumed work.

Türkiye continues its joint efforts with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and other friendly regional countries to play a constructive role on the Libyan issue, Fidan said.

Fidan said he is scheduled to visit Libya after his Malta visit to meet with high-level Libyan officials.

He underlined that during the meetings, he would reiterate Türkiye’s constructive policy for resolving the issue.

Borg, for his part, said: “The people of Libya are our brothers and sisters. We want political stability in the country, and we want them to continue their lives safely in their country.”

Libya has been torn by civil war since the 2011 ouster of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed.

War in Gaza

Fidan noted that the two countries share the same perspective on the recent situation in Gaza.

“We are in agreement that the massacre must stop immediately, humanitarian aid must be provided, and a permanent peace must be brought to the region based on a two-state solution, to prevent this problem from posing further risks to the region and averting its destructive effects, as well as ensuring the establishment of permanent security and peace for both Israel and Palestine,” he said.

Borg, for his part, said: “We want the war in Gaza to be ended through diplomacy and dialogue. In this regard, we do not want innocent lives to be lost. We want to say ‘stop’ to this.”

Israel launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in which Tel Aviv says nearly 1,200 Israelis were killed.

At least 27,585 Palestinians have been killed and 66,978 others injured in Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, the Health Ministry in the enclave said on Monday.

The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Bilateral ties

Speaking about Türkiye’s accession process to the EU, Fidan said: “The EU is the one that needs to make a decision at the moment.”

“We are committed to our goals regarding the EU. Türkiye’s position is clear here, but whether the EU wants to include Türkiye, whether it can create such a political equation, is a matter for them to decide,” Fidan said.

Minister Fidan emphasized that Malta is a member of the EU, highlighting that the relationship between the two countries, including their neighborhood relations, is progressing well in all areas.

Fidan stressed that the ties between Türkiye and Malta, especially in the field of trade, are gaining momentum day by day.

“Turkish businessmen and companies are active in many sectors, including construction, infrastructure, shipbuilding, banking, port management, and aviation. Turkish government supports the activities and investments of our companies here,” Fidan added.

Borg, for his part, said: “We have evaluated bilateral relations. Our relations are excellent, both diplomatically and commercially. It is natural for this to evolve into other areas of cooperation. We can continue to strengthen ties further.”