Ankara swimming against tide as international community urges de-escalation in Libya

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Sun, 19 Jul 2020 - 08:10 GMT

FILE - A member of the troops loyal to Libya's GNA rides a military vehicle as he prepares before heading to Sirte, on the outskirts of Misrata, Libya, July 18, 2020 - Reuters/Ayman Sahely

FILE - A member of the troops loyal to Libya's GNA rides a military vehicle as he prepares before heading to Sirte, on the outskirts of Misrata, Libya, July 18, 2020 - Reuters/Ayman Sahely

CAIRO – 19 July 2020: Receiving Libyan tribal leaders last week in Cairo, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has affirmed Egypt’s longstanding support to peaceful solution in Libya through encouraging negotiations between Libyan factions, but said Egypt will not stand idly as it watches activities that threaten Egypt’s national security.

 

As hundreds of people have been killed in continuous battles between the conflicting factions in Libya; the Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the Parliament in the east and the Government of National Accord led by Fayez Al-Sarraj and its forces in the west, Sisi in June announced an initiative calling for ceasefire.

 

However, he announced on July 16, during his meeting with the tribal chiefs, that one of the conflicting parties, definitely referring to the GNA has failed to have the political will to apply ceasefire and stop illegal activities in the country and has fell under control of a forein power, definitely referring to Turkey.

 

He warned that the Sirte-Jufra red line shall not be crossed, describing it as a call for peace by Egypt to activate the political solution in the country. The Libyan provinces of Sirte and Jufra are both critical for Egypt and the Libyan National Army. They strategically lie in the center of the country. Sirte has most of the country’s oil and is a major point of conflict between the conflicting sides in Egypt, due to a maritime deal between Turkey and the Government of National Accord, which is rejected by the Libyan National Army, Egypt and Europe. Egypt also fears that it can be attacked by jets launching from the Jufra airport.

 

 

السيسي: تجاوز خط سرت والجفرة تهديد للأمن القومى المصرى

السيسي: تجاوز خط سرت والجفرة تهديد للأمن القومى المصرى لمزيد من الفيديوهات زوروا مباشر : https://www.dotmsr.com لمزيد من الأخبار زوروا موقعنا : http://goo.gl...

Two days later, armed militias affiliated with Turkey started to move towards Tawergha town near Sirte, reported Al Arabiya, in a sign of rejection of peaceful solution in Libya and in response to Sisi’s remarks during the meeting, through which he offered military intervention in Libya at the Libyan people’s request.

 

This sign was endorsed as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Friday that his country will stand by “our Libyan brothers”, apparently referring to people backing the GNA, in their fight against the LNA.

 

He also denounced Egypt’s support to Haftar and the African country’s stance announced by Sisi as “illegal.”

 

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Responding to Erdogan, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman tild Al-Hadath TV channel: “it seems that the Libyan desire for Egypt’s support in countering terrorism and extremism and facing instability in their country has been clearly provocative to some people.”

 

“We are surprised in fact, that the Turkish administration engages its country in adventures beyond its borders and get involved in disputes that are, perhaps, thousands of kilometers away from its territories,” Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said.

 

“The Turkish adventures here constitute indifference to the friendly Turkish people and a waste of its resources,” he added.

 

European leaders, who have backed Sisi’s call for ceasefire in the war-torn country, slammed escalation in Libya in a joint statement on Saturday, and threatened to impose sanctions against countries that continued to violate a United Nations weapons embargo on Libya.

 

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called on all foreign powers interfering in Libya to “end their increasing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council".

 

"We are ready to consider the possible use of sanctions if the breaches of the embargo at sea, on land or in the air continue, and look forward to the proposals that the High Representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy will make in this regard," the three leaders said.

 

Also, Arab countries and Russia have called for an immediate cessation of hostile acts and a comprehensive political settlement to all crisis in Libya and other countries in the region.

 

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الآن | لقاء إكسترا نيوز مع الشيخ صالح الفندي رئيس مجلس أعيان ومشايخ ليبيا 17 يوليو2020 لمشاهدة البث المباشر لقناة اكسترا نيوز : http://bit.ly/2lIAKDs شاركنا ...

 

Inside Libya, Saleh Al-Fandi, Head of Libya's Supreme Tribal Council denounced the Government of National Accord for resorting to Turkey’s “colonialism” amid a state of division that has extended for years between the GNA and both the LNA and the Parliament.

 

“We had known that colonialism comes to a state by force, occupies cities and kill people, and everyone consolidates to expel it,” Fandi told Egypt’s CBC eXtra news, denouncing the GNA for bringing the “Turkish occupation” which he said brought dozens of mercenaries and ISIS elements to the country.

 

Military intervention

The Egyptian army’s planned intervention in Libya has been justified by the presence of militias in the war-torn country, which allegedly threatens the national security of both Libya and its eastern neighbor, Egypt.

 

One of top 10 strongest armies: What we know about capabilities of Egypt's Military

CAIRO - 17 July 2020: Speaking about possible and apparently imminent military intervention in Libya at the Libyan people's request, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Thursday told Libyan tribal leaders that the Egyptian Army is the strongest in Africa and the region, but is a wise army that does not assail or invade territories.

 

During his meeting with the tribal chiefs, Sisi said Egypt has always stood by a peaceful solution in Libya through encouraging negotiations between Libyan factions. However, it will not stand idly as it watches activities that threaten Egypt’s national security.

 

“Egypt has the strongest Army in the region and Africa,” he said, adding that it is, however, wise and does not assail or invade other territories.

 

He noted that in case the Egyptian forces entered Libya, they will be led by tribal leaders carrying the Libyan flag. He added that the army intervention in Libya has to be approved by the Egyptian House of Representatives.

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