Erdogan: UAE is bankrolling Haftar’s mercenaries to fight in Libya

Erdogan and Haftar.[Photo: Libyan Express]
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Abu Dhabi is backing Khalifa Haftar and the Russian mercenaries fighting on his behalf in Libya, adding that the United Arab Emirates is bankrolling thousands of Russian fighters who support the forces controlled by Haftar, whom he derided as a “desert lord.”

The Turkish president’s criticism comes as a truce agreed this month appeared to be under severe strain with each side accusing the other of violations.

Haftar’s forces have violated the ceasefire agreement many times by shelling Mitiga Airport three times, and attacking Abu Grein near Sirte and Misrata as well as shelling residential areas in Tripoli, the last of which killed four children on Tuesday in Hadba neighborhood in Tripoli.

A conference convened by Germany days after the ceasefire was struck had sought a cessation of hostilities to pave the way for an end to the conflict, but Haftar hasn’t yet held his end of the deal.

“Haftar is, at the moment, like a desert lord in Libya,” Erdogan told reporters during a flight from Algeria to Gambia, according to a transcript of his remarks published by his office. “He has control in desert areas but not in populated regions.”

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