Foreign ministers meet in Brussels

EU representatives discuss the Middle East crisis. Germany is represented by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Foreign ministers meet in Brussels
dpa

Brussels (dpa) - The threat of beating war drums in Iran and Libya will focus minds later Friday when foreign ministers from the 28 European Union states meet in Brussels for crisis talks.

European diplomats have been working overtime to calm international tensions surrounding the two countries. The United States and Iran only just backed away from the risk of full-blown conflict this week after Washington took out a top Iranian military commander in Iraq and Tehran retaliated with strikes on military bases used by the US in Iraq.

EU capitals are also hoping to keep alive the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which they say is necessary for maintaining calm.

European diplomats are also keen to curb foreign interference in Libya, which has been engulfed by civil war since the overthrow of dictator Moamer Gaddafi in 2011.

Turkey supports the internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, which is vying for power with General Khalifa Haftar, who commands the self-styled Libyan National Army and is supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Russia and Turkey have called for a ceasefire, but Haftar has vowed to keep fighting.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is to attend the Brussels talks later Friday after the military alliance suspended its training operations in Iraq and temporarily pulled out some of its troops.

United Nations envoy for Libya, Ghassam Salame, is also expected to brief ministers.

European Council President Charles Michel is to head for Istanbul and Cairo for talks on Libya on Saturday, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to head to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin.