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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - CAIRO — Egypt announced Monday that it will hold a meeting with four European Mediterranean countries about developments in neighboring Libya after Turkey began deploying troops in the war-torn North African nation.
The talks — to be held in Cairo on Wednesday— will bring together foreign ministers from France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said.
The ministers will tackle the "rapid developments" in Libya and "ways to push efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement" between rival administrations there, a statement said.
Libya has seen an escalation of the turmoil that has gripped the country since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that soldiers had begun deploying to Libya to shore up the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) following its request for military support.
Cairo considers a military intervention in Libya a "matter of Egyptian national security" and has vowed to quash efforts seeking "to control" over its neighbor.
It has also slammed maritime and military deals signed between Ankara and Tripoli in November as "illegitimate".
Erdogan on Sunday said Turkish soldiers had begun deploying to Libya after parliament approved such a move last week.
"Our soldiers' duty there is coordination. They will develop the operation center there. Our soldiers are gradually going right now," Erdogan told CNN Turk broadcaster during an interview.
The Turkish parliament passed a bill allowing the government to send troops to Libya aimed at shoring up the UN-recognized government in Tripoli.
The Tripoli government has come under sustained attack since Gen. Khalifa Haftar launched his offensive in April.
Erdogan said Turkey's objective was "not to fight", but "to support the legitimate government and avoid a humanitarian tragedy".
He added that Turkey would not be deploying its own combat forces. "Right now, we will have different units serving as a combatant force," he said, without giving details on who the fighters would be and where they would come from.
Senior Turkish military personnel would coordinate the "fighting force", Erdogan explained, sharing their experience and information to support Tripoli.
Libya and Turkey signed security and maritime agreements in November last year, angering Mediterranean countries including Greece and Cyprus who also seek to exploit energy resources in the region. — AFP
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