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Russia, Turkey Tentatively Step Toward Mercenary Withdrawal Agreement on Libya
By Staff, Agencies
Hopes grew Wednesday for Libya's stability following a decade of bloodshed as Russia and Turkey reached a tentative plan in talks in Berlin to start withdrawing foreign mercenaries, officials said.
The UN-sponsored conference – the second held in the German capital – renewed commitments to holding elections on December 24, a watershed for the North African nation where foreign powers have violently jostled for influence.
In this regard, Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush voiced hope that there would finally be progress on a key pledge from the first conference in January 2020 – to pull foreign fighters out.
Clouding the talks, Turkey refuses to withdraw its military, saying its presence is different as it has an agreement with the internationally recognized government.
Any withdrawal is also a delicate balancing act, said Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who noted that Russia and Turkey are concerned that a withdrawal could open an opportunity for their adversary to launch a sudden offensive.
A gradual draw down of troops is likely the preferred option to avoid such a scenario.
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