President Trump discussed the unrest in Libya with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call Thursday after Ankara passed a bill allowing troop deployments to Tripoli.
Trump and Erdogan “stressed the importance of diplomacy in resolving regional issues,” the Turkish government said in a statement.
The situation in Syria was also addressed on the call, the government said.
The White House did not immediately issue a statement on the call or return a request for comment.
The bill passed by Parliament allows troop deployment to Libya, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop said, paving the way for increased military cooperation despite criticism from opposition lawmakers.
Sentop said the legislation passed with an 325-184 vote, where Erdogan’s ruling AK Party and its nationalist allies hold a majority. All major opposition parties in the assembly voted against the bill.
The Tripoli-based government of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj has faced an offensive by the rival regime in the east and forces loyal to commander Gen. Khalifa Hifter.
The fighting has threatened to plunge Libya into violent chaos rivaling the 2011 conflict that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Erdogan said last month that Sarraj requested the Turkish deployment after he and Sarraj signed a deal that allowed Ankara to dispatch military experts and personnel to Libya.
“A Libya whose legal government is under threat can spread instability to Turkey,” ruling party legislator Ismet Yilmaz argued in defense of the motion. “Those who shy away from taking steps on grounds that there is a risk will throw our children into a greater danger.”
But Egypt’s foreign ministry condemned “in the strongest language” the authorization to deploy troops, saying Turkey would carry full responsibility for the negative effect it would have on the stability of the Mediterranean region.
Egypt, which neighbors Libya, has backed the rival regime in the country’s east.
It was the second time in a week that a phone call between Trump and a foreign leader was announced by the other country.
The Kremlin said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump had spoken and that the US had provided intelligence that thwarted a terror attack in St. Petersburg.
The Trump administration did not release information about the call until a day later.
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