Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, talk after they symbolically open a valve during a ceremony in Istanbul for the inauguration of the TurkStream pipeline, Jan. 8, 2020.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, talk after they symbolically open a valve during a ceremony in Istanbul for the inauguration of the TurkStream pipeline, Jan. 8, 2020.

The Russian and Turkish presidents are calling for a cease-fire starting Sunday in Libya, where rival governments have been battling for power.

"Seeking a military solution to the ongoing conflict in Libya only causes further suffering and deepens the divisions among Libyans," Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a joint statement Wednesday in Istanbul.

"The worsening situation in Libya is undermining the security and stability of Libya's wider neighborhood, the entire Mediterranean region, as well as the African continent," the statement said.

They said illegal migration, weapons trafficking and terrorism are just some of the problems aggravated by the fighting in Libya.

Turkey has begun deploying troops to Libya to help the Western-backed government in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj met with European Union officials in Brussels Wednesday while his rival for power, General Khalifa Haftar, held talks in Italy with his ally, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned all sides against letting Libya become a "second Syria," as he called for an arms embargo and a political settlement.

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