Turkish troops are being sent to Libya 'to ensure the survival and stability of the legitimate government,' as the two countries prepare to grant licensing for drilling in the maritime area between the two, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in Ankara on Thursday.

"We signed an agreement with Libya to delineate maritime borders. It is no longer legally possible to conduct exploration and drilling activities or to run pipelines in the region between the Turkish and Libyan coasts without the approval of both countries. In 2020, we are licensing these areas and starting the search and drilling as quickly as ever. After the licensing work, for the first time the Oruc Reis seismic research vessel will conduct seismic studies in the region. We are sending our troops to this country to ensure the survival and stability of the legitimate government in Libya," said Erdogan.

The statement comes after Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar decided not to sign a ceasefire deal after peace talks in Moscow on Monday, while head of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj did.

The Moscow talks were brokered by Turkey, which backs the GNA and Russia, which supports Haftar.

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