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Egypt to reopen embassy in Libyan capital

The Egyptian embassy in Tripoli was closed in 2014 following an attack. [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 February, 2021

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Egypt has announced that it will reopen its embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli following the formation of a new transitional government.

Egypt has announced that it will reopen its embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli, and resume consular services to Egyptians in the country. 

The announcement follows the visit of a delegation from Cairo on Monday, and what was described as a "re-coordination" between the governments of the two countries. 

The Egyptian embassy in Tripoli ceased operations in January 2014, following an attack by gunmen, who stormed the building and kidnapped a number of the embassy’s staff.

“The opening of the consulate, which is expected on Monday, will be the first step towards reopening the Egyptian Embassy in the next stage. The delegation, which consists of diplomats and security personnel and will start working on consular affairs,” said Mohammed Al-Qiblawi, spokesman for the Libyan Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. 

After years of fighting between the internationally-recognised GNA and an unrecognised rival administration based in eastern Libya and allied with rogue General Khalifa Haftar, a new transitional government was formed on 5 February. Mohammed Al-Menfi was chosen as the head of the Libyan Presidency Council, while Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh was picked to be prime minister.

The election by the members of the Political Dialogue Forum, and the announcement that parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for 24 December, was welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. 

“We are supportive of them... We are ready to cooperate with them for Libya’s recovery and to prepare for the elections in Libya,” he said.

Previously, Egypt had been a close ally of Haftar and had warned that it would to respond to any GNA offensive that threatened its western border. 

Read more: What does the future hold for Haftar and the Libyan National Army?

In 2019, Haftar launched a massive assault on Tripoli but his forces were driven back in early 2020 by a GNA counter-offensive which was backed by military support from Turkey.

Since then, GNA representatives have held a number of talks with the Egyptian government in both Cairo and Tripoli. 

On 9 February, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, met with his GNA counterpart to discuss the resumption of consular services and offered to support efforts that stabilise Libya and a political solution. 

“Shoukry confirmed the Egyptian position toward Libya, in order to reach a Libyan-Libyan political solution that preserves the country’s sovereignty,” said a spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry. 

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