July 13, 2020

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Macron condemns Turkey’s ‘criminal’ actions in Lia

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French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he gives a press conference after a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at the German government’s guest house Meseberg Castle in Gransee near Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 29 2020. The meeting takes place ahead of Germany’s EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020. (Hayoung Jeon, Pool via AP)

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron lashed out Monday against Turkey’s “criminal” responsibility in Lia.

Speaking during a visit to Germany, Macron strongly condemned Turkey’s actions in Lia as “unacceptable.”

He said Turkey “doesn’t respect any of its commitments.” France sees Ankara as an obstacle to securing a cease-fire in the conflict-torn country.

Tensions between France and Turkey escalated following a June 10 incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, which France considers a hostile act under NATO’s rules of engagement.

Turkey has denied harassing the French frigate.

France accused Turkey of repeated violations of the U.N. arms embargo and of importing Syrian fighters to Lia.

Macron also condemned interference in Lia from Russian private military contractor Wagner.

Lia has been in turmoil since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising toppled leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.

The country has since been split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed armed groups and different foreign governments.

Macron denied backing the east-based forces led commander Khalifa Hifter, stressing France is in favor of finding a “political solution.” The U.N.-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, is mainly backed Turkey.

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