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Visa-free travel for Turks in the works: Libya

Initiatives starting to open embassy in Turkish capital Ankara, consulate in Benghazi, says Libya's prime minister

Tuba Sahin   | 13.04.2021
Visa-free travel for Turks in the works: Libya

ANKARA

Libya will work to enable visa-free visits for Turkish nationals, the prime minister of Libya's Government of National Unity said in the Turkish capital on Tuesday.

"We will immediately start procedures for the complete abolition of visa (requirements) and begin the necessary initiatives to launch an embassy in the capital Ankara and a consulate in the northeastern city of Benghazi," Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh told a Turkey-Libya hybrid round table meeting.

Speaking on the last day of a two-day official visit, Dbeibeh pledged full support for the Turkish private sector doing more business in Libya.

"We want the Turkish and Libyan private sectors to interact and even merge," Dbeibeh said, adding:

"We will do whatever it takes to make it easier for you to do business with Libyan businesses in various sectors."

Saying that the Government of National Unity is rebuilding Libya after a rocky period for the country, Dbeibeh added: "We hope to remobilize this progress again, which will contribute positively to the lives of our citizens."

Turkish business back in Libya

Dbeibeh highlighted that Libya’s various agreements with Turkey will help the government fulfill the needs of Libyans.

"One of the priorities of our government is to restart all interrupted projects and remove the hurdles blocking them," he stressed.

Pointing to the size of Turkish investments in Libya, Dbeibeh invited businesses to the country to complete existing projects and undertake new ones.

"I can invite all companies doing business in Libya: we will solve all your financial problems and none of your rights will be lost," Dbeibeh stressed, adding that the government respects and recognizes all agreements signed in the past.

Touting a possible free trade pact between Turkey and Libya, he stressed the importance of reaching such a deal.

The meeting was organized as part of the Turkey-Libya High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, which was held on Monday.

On Monday, after talks with high-level Libyan officials, Turkish leaders stressed continued bilateral cooperation as well as the return of Turkish businesses to Libya as the country regains stability.

Libya fell into chaos and civil war following the 2011 ouster of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Turkey has long supported the efforts of the Government of National Unity to bring the country together.

On Feb. 5, Libyan delegates elected Dbeibeh the country’s new prime minister and Mohammad Menfi to head a three-member Presidential Council.

Turkey-Libya ties based on mutual benefit, gains

For his part, Turkish Deputy Trade Minister Sezai Ucarmak told the meeting that bilateral commercial and economic ties will move forward through efforts and work on both sides.

Stressing that the contracting sector is an important aspect of the economic ties between Turkey and Libya, Ucarmak said they are taking shape with the help of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed last August.

"Libyans are one of the peoples Turkey loves unconditionally. This should be known," he said.

Ucarmak stressed that the pact aims to lay the groundwork for resolving ongoing issues, so the two sides should adhere to the process in order to make progress.

Turkish companies have applied to Libyan administrations in line with the pact and are awaiting a response, Ucarmak said, calling for government support.

"We expect our companies to start meeting on the principle of goodwill and to conclude them with a solution-oriented approach," he noted.

Saying that the future of Turkey-Libya commercial and economic ties is very bright, Ucarmak said this year the bilateral trade volume grew 20%.

"All of our relations with Libya are based on mutual benefit and mutual gain," he stressed.

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