Protesters chant anti-government slogans in Tobruk February 22, 2011. REUTERS/AsmaaWaguih
CAIRO – 21 June 2020: "Tobruk's civil society institutions, tribe leaders, and people support President Sisi's statements on providing backing to Libya and Libyans against the Turkish invasion and aggression, and the Syrian armed militias," the communiqué issued Sunday read.
Tobruk's tribe leaders thanked the leadership, government, and people of Egypt affirming that Egypt's stance on Libya is rooted in the deep relations between both countries.
The statement concluded, "Gory and eternity to martyrs. Long live Egypt. Long live Sisi."
After checking on Air Force elements and Special Forces units in the Western Military Zone, particularly in Sidi Barani at Matrouh governorate bordering Libya, President Sisi delivered on June 20 a speech on Libya in the presence of Libyan tribes' representatives and high-ranking commanders of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
"Any direct intervention by Egypt in Libya has become legitimate in line with UNSC resolutions, and upon the call of the legitimate authority in Libya," President Sisi said.
"Al-Jufrah and Sirte are a red line…The current line must not be crossed. The party, who would not respect it, would attain neither the west nor the east. The political process must go forward," the president tells a representative of Libyan tribes.
The president asserted the necessity of withdrawing mercenaries from Libya, and that militias must give up their arms to the Libyan National Army (LNA). He also warned against the current(Turkish) foreign intervention in Libya for it composes a threat to regional, European, and global security and stability.
Earlier the president addressed the forces saying, "Be ready to accomplish any mission whether here within our borders or - if needed – beyond our borders."
The president said that the Air Force, the Special Forces, and the Border Guards have been securing 1,200 kilometers of borders with Libya for 7years, and accomplishing missions that have not been disclosed.
"The Egyptian Army is one of the strongest in the region. Yet, it is a wise army that protects but doesn't threaten, and is able to defend the national security of Egypt within and beyond its borders," the president showcased.
Earlier this week, 23 Egyptian expats in Libya were abducted from Tarhouna and tortured by Al-Hazm militia and held in Misrata. They were later freed after diplomatic efforts by Egypt, and repatriated to their homeland on June 18.
In December 2019, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey signed two MoUs on defense and gas drilling eastern the Mediterranean. Turkey sent 1,500 officers and military experts to Libya to co-command the operation rooms of the GNA militias, and has been transporting arms by sea as well.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) had reported that Turkey transported 15,000 Syrian mercenaries into Libya, including 300 minors aged between 14-18, and that the majority of them belong to Sultan Murad armed group. In addition, 1,800 mercenaries arrived to training camps in Turkey before they moved to the North African state.
In January, the Libyan National Army (LNA) recovered Sirte from the militias protecting the GNA. Nevertheless, the Libyan Armed Forces lost Oqba bin Nafea airbase in Al-Watiyah district western the country and Tarhouna town, and retreated from Tripoli's outskirts. Yet, the LNA has downed around 70 Turkish drones piloted from the capital's Mitiga Airbase.
Early in June, Dassault Rafale fighter jets were observed flying over Sirte amid attempts by the GNA militias to enter the city. France negated sending those jets to the North African state.
The GNA is a non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations. It was formed as provided by the Skhirat Agreement signed in 2015 to be an interim government, and was supposed to dissolve after 1-2 years. Hence, it is considered unconstitutional, especially that it was not formed by the elected House of Representatives based in Tobruk.
Additional reporting by Noha El Tawil