CAIRO — The recent visit of a high-level Egyptian security delegation to Libya’s capital Tripoli reflects Cairo’s openness to all Libyan parties with the goal of reaching a solution to the Libyan conflict, Egyptian experts said.
On Sunday, a high-level Egyptian delegation, headed by Undersecretary of Egypt’s Intelligence Service Ayman Badie, visited Tripoli for talks with senior officials of the UN-backed Libyan government. The two sides discussed means of cooperation between the two countries, and ways possible to restore normal diplomatic ties which were severed in 2014 when the Libyan conflict escalated, splitting power between two rivals with warring forces. On Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Al-Taher Siala discussed over the phone the Libyan issue and mutual cooperation.
After the phone talk, Shoukry stressed the continuation of cooperation between the two sides, adding that the visit by the Egyptian delegation to Libya is a serious step in this direction.
“The visit reflects the Egyptian perspective on dealing with the Libyan issue in general, and proves that Cairo is not biased toward one party at the expense of another,” Ahmed Eliba, a security expert with the Egyptian Center for Thought and Strategic Studies, told Xinhua.
Eliba added that the visit proves Egypt’s declared stance toward the Libyan crisis as well as its serious endeavors to reach a solution to the conflict through an intra-Libyan dialogue.
“This approach is consistent with the Egyptian initiative to settle the Libyan crisis represented in the Cairo Declaration, and the subsequent steps to support this path, including Egypt’s hosting of talks between the Libyan warring parties in recent months,” the expert said.
He noted that such a meeting is important since it tackled reopening Cairo’s embassy in Tripoli, which reflects the relative improvement in the political and security environment in Tripoli.
“The meeting also reflects the openness of the UN-backed government toward Cairo after realizing its role in supporting Libya’s stability,” Eliba noted.
He added that the Egyptian role in the Libyan crisis also enjoys international support, given the credibility of its efforts to create a suitable atmosphere to restore stability in the war-torn Arab country. Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments: the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.
In June, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced a Cairo-led initiative to end the Libyan internal conflict following his meeting with Haftar and Tobruk-based parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.
Egypt later hosted rounds of negotiations between Libya’s two rival administrations represented in members of Libya’s Tobruk-based House of Representatives and the Libyan Presidential Council. Egypt is keen on reaching a political settlement for the ongoing conflict in neighboring Libya, whose instability poses a threat to the security of the 1,200-km-long common borders.
Samir Ragheb, head of the Cairo-based Arab Foundation for Development and Strategic Studies, said the visit of the Egyptian delegation to the Libyan capital came as part of the Egyptian efforts to settle the conflict in Libya through an approach that goes in line with relevant UN and international resolutions, including the Skhirat Agreement of 2015, the Berlin process and the Cairo Declaration.
“The visit is meant to build bridges of confidence between the Egypt and the UN-backed government, taking into account that Egypt is a sponsor and mediator between the warring parties in Libya,” he told Xinhua.
Egypt wants to make sure that the ongoing cease-fire will continue, delivering a message that the pullout of all foreign actors on the ground in Libya is a priority.
“Egypt is seeking international recognition of the Government of National Accord as well as the legitimacy of the House of Representatives, in addition to unifying the military and security institutions in the country,” Ragheb said.