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Turkey upset by Sarraj's plan to step down in Libya -Erdogan

Credit: REUTERS/MURAD SEZER

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey was upset by news that Libya's internationally recognised Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, an ally, wants to quit next month and Ankara may hold talks with his government on the issue in the coming week.

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ISTANBUL, Sept 18 (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey was upset by news that Libya's internationally recognised Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, an ally, wants to quit next month and Ankara may hold talks with his government on the issue in the coming week.

Sarraj announced on Wednesday his intention to step down by the end of October. The move could feed political tensions in Tripoli amid new efforts to find a political solution to the country's conflict.

"A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that Turkish delegations may hold talks with Sarraj's government in the coming week.

"With these meetings, God willing we will turn this issue towards the direction it needs to go," he said.

Sarraj is head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, while eastern Libya and much of the south is controlled by Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). His departure could lead to infighting among senior GNA figures.

The civil war has drawn in regional and international powers and Turkey supports the GNA, while the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia back the LNA. Turkey helped the GNA turn back a 14-month LNA assault on Tripoli in June.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrucku; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Jonathan Spicer)

((daren.butler@tr.com; +90-212-350 7053; Reuters Messaging: daren.butler.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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