Turkish president, NATO chief discuss pandemic on phone

Turkish president, NATO chief discuss pandemic on phone
# 15 May 2020 08:34 (UTC +04:00)

Turkey's president and the head of NATO on Thursday discussed via telephone the novel coronavirus and steps to take in the post-pandemic period, according to a statement by Ankara's presidential Directorate of Communications, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Jens Stoltenberg also discussed the latest developments in Syria and Libya.

In a separate press release, Stoltenberg praised Turkey for helping NATO allies and partners with medical equipment over the past months to help combat the virus.

"At this challenging time, it remains more important than ever to demonstrate allied solidarity," Stoltenberg told Erdogan, according to the statement.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit areas. 

The pandemic has killed more than 301,000 people worldwide with over 4.4 million confirmed cases, while recoveries have surpassed 1.5 million.

On Libya, Stoltenberg reiterated NATO's readiness to help the war-torn North African country by building its defense and security capacities.

He also threw the alliance's full support for a negotiated political solution.

The Libyan government has been under attack by the Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s armed forces since April 2019. 

Haftar's illegal forces in eastern Libya has launched several attacks to capture the capital Tripoli, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. 

The Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital. 

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya's new government was founded in 2015 under a political deal led by the UN.