Erdoğan 'constantly calling' Trump to get Russia to back down in Libya - CNN
U.S. President Donald Trump has found himself caught between strongmen leaders who are supporting different sides in Libya’s civil war, prompting him to disengage from the issue, CNN reported on Saturday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in particular is "constantly calling” Trump to get him to get Russia to back down, CNN cited U.S. and Turkish officials as saying.
Turkey backs the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in its fight against rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is supported by Russia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
Trump has disregarded pleas by leaders of Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and others to get involved in the conflict. Trump has told them he would rather not get involved in another messy Middle Eastern conflict, especially ahead of a presidential election, and urged them to sort the issue out amongst themselves, CNN cited several foreign and U.S. officials as saying.
Even as the potential for an escalation in the Libyan conflict grows, Trump has not attempted to reduce tensions.
"The president usually tells them, 'do what you need to do. I'm not going to tell you what to do'," one U.S. official told CNN.
On Tuesday, Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, said in a statement that the United States strongly opposes "foreign military involvement, including the use of mercenaries and private military contractors, by all sides" in Libya's civil war.
O'Brien also said that the United States is "an active, but neutral actor" in the Libya conflict, and added that "it is clear there is no 'winning' side".