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Trump, Erdogan stress need for Syria, Libya ceasefires: W.House

By AFP - Mar 31,2020 - Last updated at Mar 31,2020

A child looks on as volunteers gather in a sewing workshop to make protective face-masks in the northeastern Syrian city of Idlib (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan underlined on Tuesday the need for ceasefires in Syria and Libya during the coronavirus pandemic, the White House said.

The two spoke by phone on efforts to "defeat the virus and bolster the global economy", the White House said in a statement.

And they "agreed it is more important now than ever for countries in conflict, particularly Syria and Libya, to adhere to ceasefires and work toward resolution".

Syria's government has so far reported only a handful of coronavirus cases, but health experts warn that the country, torn apart by years of civil war, is especially vulnerable to the rapidly spreading, sometimes fatal virus.

The violence-plagued northwest, where around a million people have been displaced by conflict since December alone, is particularly at risk.

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi and is divided between the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity  and forces loyal to eastern-based military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The country's healthcare system is badly deteriorated, although the two rival powers have both instituted social distancing measures.

 

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