x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

UAE, Turkey collaborate on Libya aid flights

Planes will fly from Turkish bases effective immediately, officials said late Friday.

ABU DHABI // The UAE and Turkey will work together to send humanitarian aid to Libya starting today, officials from both countries said at a press conference in the capital yesterday.

Sheikh Abudullah bin Zayed, the UAE’s foreign minister, and Ahmet Davutoglu, the minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Turkey, said that given the current conditions in Libya, sending humanitarian aid is crucial.

“It’s quite clear there is a situation in Libya that makes us all quite worried,” Sheikh Abdullah said. “We feel for the people in Libya and we’d like to work together in helping our brothers and sisters.”

Two UAE aircraft will be based in Marmaris, Turkey, a few hundred kilometres from Libya. They will ferry supplies to an unspecified location, Sheikh Abdullah said, and the proximity will make it easier for the UAE logistically.

The two also met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Command of the UAE Armed Forces, to discuss the way forward.

Sheikh Abdullah said identifying what aid was required was difficult, noting that was another reason why a joint initiative would be more effective than going it alone.

“We are talking about programmes where we can reach every household, town, village and city,” he said. “For us to help the people of Libya, we have to keep our focus on helping each man, woman and child. We have to work on getting the needs of those people effectively and do it quickly.”

Both ministers said that the most important thing was to bring aid where it was needed rather than formulate a political response.

“If you make progress with humanitarian issues, you can also help the diplomatic process,” Mr Davutoglu said.

mismail@thenational.ae