Sisi: Egypt Ready to Intervene in Libya

  • "Any direct interference from the Egyptian state has now acquired international legitimacy."
  • The Libyan Al-Wefaq government had "vehemently" rejected Sisi's suggestion of "direct military intervention."
  • An emergency virtual meeting at the level of foreign ministers is expected to be held during the next week.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi confirmed in a speech on Saturday, broadcast on Egyptian television, that Egypt’s direct entry into Libya “has become available to international legitimacy,” and involves goals. Sisi said this while inspecting the Egyptian army units in the western military zone.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is an Egyptian politician who is the sixth and current President of Egypt, former Director of Military Intelligence, former Minister of Defence, and former General. Starting 10 February 2019, Sisi also began serving a one-year term as Chairperson of the African Union.

Sisi added that “any direct interference from the Egyptian state has now acquired international legitimacy.” The Egyptian President stated that the objectives of this intervention are protecting the western borders of the state, and the ceasefire between the conflicting parties in Libya, as well as launching political settlement negotiations.

Sisi said on Saturday, “Egypt has never been an advocate of aggression against the territories and the capabilities of any country.” However, he stressed that “the readiness and combat readiness of the forces has become necessary and inevitable in light of the instability and turmoil that prevails in our region.”

Meanwhile, the Libyan Al-Wefaq government had “vehemently” rejected Sisi’s suggestion of “direct military intervention” in Libya. Mohamed Amari Zayed, a member of the Presidential Council of the Government, said:

“We strongly reject what was stated in Al-Sisi’s speech and consider it a continuation of the war against the Libyan people and interference in its affairs, and a serious threat to the Libyan national security and a flagrant violation of international norms and covenants.

We categorically reject what has been announced about Egypt’s intention to establish and equip militias and armed gangs to fight the legitimate government in Libya, and we consider it a threat to civil and international peace, and to repeat the methods of the militarily defeated insurgency.”

Zayed stressed that “Libya is a sovereign state with a legitimate government, which is the government of national reconciliation, and that no foreign party will have authority over its people, resources, and capabilities, or it will undermine its unity and independence,” as he put it.

The Second Libyan Civil War is an ongoing conflict among rival factions seeking control of Libya. The conflict is mostly between the House of Representatives, which appointed Marshal Khalifa Haftar as commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army, and the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, based in the capital, Tripoli.

It is noteworthy that Sisi’s statements came the day after the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States received a request from Egypt to hold an emergency virtual meeting at the level of foreign ministers in order to discuss developments in the situation in Libya.

The meeting is expected to be held during the next week, but the Al-Wefaq government has announced that it will not participate in the next meeting of the Arab League.

Since 2015, two powers have been in conflict: the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, based in Tripoli, and a parallel government, backed by General Khalifa Haftar in the east of the country.

Haftar does not recognize the legitimacy of the Saraj government, which was formed under the Skhirat agreement in Morocco, under the supervision of the United Nations in December 2015. His forces launched an attack in April 2019, aimed at controlling Tripoli.

The attack ended with the restoration of the Al-Wefaq government, with Turkish assistance, in western Libya, in early June, and Haftar’s forces having to retreat. In the first week of this month, Haftar agreed to an initiative to solve the crisis in Libya, announced by Sisi. It included a ceasefire, but was met with the rejection of the Turkish-backed Al-Wefaq government.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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