Egyptian delegation meets GNA officials in Tripoli

Egyptian delegation meets GNA officials in Tripoli, amid hopes for peace deal
2 min read
30 December, 2020
The visit by the high-level Egyptian delegation was the first of its kind since 2014.
Egypt's delegation included diplomats and the deputy chief of the country’s spy agency [AFP]

An Egyptian delegation arrived in Tripoli on Sunday and met with officials from the Government of National Accord (GNA), marking an apparent lull in hostilities between Cairo - who back Libya's rival eastern-based forces led by strongman Khalifa Haftar - and the UN-recognised authority.

Egypt's delegation, which included diplomats and the deputy chief of the country's spy agency, Ayman Badea, held separate meetings with various GNA ministers, including Foreign Minister Mohammed Sayyala and Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga. 

A spokesman for the Libyan foreign ministry, Mohammad Al-Giblawi, told The Libyan Observer that the meetings were aimed at establishing diplomatic relations and resuming cooperation between Tripoli and Cairo.

In a tweet, Al-Giblawi said that Egypt had vowed to reopen its embassy in Tripoli and resume Libyan flights to Cairo.

According to the interior ministry, the talks covered "mutual security challenges and ways to enhance security cooperation", as well as ways to support a ceasefire signed in October between Libya's rival sides under the auspices of the UN.

The visit by the Egyptian delegation was the first of its kind since 2014, when Libya fell into civil war between the Tripoli-based GNA and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar and supported by Cairo.

Turkey and Qatar have supported the GNA, while Haftar's LNA is backed by Russia, the UAE, Egypt, among others.

Libya descended into turmoil in 2011 after a NATO-backed military ouster of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Egypt's visit came hours after an unscheduled visit by Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, also on Sunday.

Read also: Libya’s rival factions exchange prisoners as Turkish defence minister visits

Tripoli and Ankara had agreed to "continue working together to combat any act of hostility from Haftar's rogue forces",  describing the LNA as a "legitimate target" in case of any attack on Turkey, according to the media office of the GNA parliament.

His comments came after Haftar said his troops would "prepare to drive out the occupier by faith, will and weapons" in response to the Turkey's decision to extend its troop deployment in Libya by 18-months.

Despite reports of Egypt insisting that it still completely rejects Turkey's military presence in Libya, Cairo has largely toned down its rhetoric in support of Haftar, in whom, analysts believe, Cairo sees difficulties, especially in strategic areas near oil terminals.

It also comes after Haftar's failed attemp to capture the Libyan capital, leading to a counter-offensive by GNA forces.

"[Egypt] normalising ties with the GNA is an attempt to incentivise peace & maintain the LNA's integrity through
the ceasefire in the process", Anas el Gomati told TRT.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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