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North African ministers in Cairo for Libya crisis talks

Foreign ministers of Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya meet in Cairo to discuss the formation of a new government in Tripoli

Ahram Online, Monday 25 Aug 2014
Sameh Shoukry during a meeting with Minsters of neighboring countries
Handout photo from Egyptian foreign ministry of Egypt's Foreign Minster Sameh Shoukry during a meeting with Minsters of neighboring countries (Photo: courtesy of Egyptian foreign ministry)
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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met early Monday with his Libyan, Algerian and Tunisian counterparts for talks on the situation in Libya.

Shoukry`s fourth meeting with the ministers, which took place in Cairo, was called to help find ways to calm the current turmoil in Libya and discuss the formation of a new government.

Benghazi and the capital Tripoli have been the scene of regular fighting that has killed more than 200 people and wounded another 1,000 in the past two weeks.

Growing insecurity has prompted thousands of people to flee, mostly overland to neighbouring Tunisia, and numerous countries have closed their embassies and urged their citizens to leave.

According to foreign ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel-Atty, Shoukry discussed a number of other regional issues with Algerian Foreign Minister Ramadan Al-Amamra.

While meeting with Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Al-Hamdy, Shoukry stressed the importance of forming a new government in Tripoli, especially after the election of a new nationalist-dominated parliament.

The parliament, elected on 25 June, is to take over from the interim General National Congress chosen in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed revolution that ousted longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, according to AFP.

The two ministers also discussed how to facilitate the departure of Egyptians fleeing Libya who are currently stranded at the Libyan-Tunisian border.

Shoukry also met with Arab League chief Nabil El-Arabi.

Tripoli airport has been closed since gunmen, mostly Islamists, assaulted it on 13 July in a bid to wrest control from the Zintan brigade of former rebels who have held it since 2011.

The brigade's opponents view it as the armed wing of the nationalist movement, and the battle is seen as part of a struggle for political influence as the new parliament prepares to assume office.

Since Gaddafi was ousted and killed, the new authorities have struggled in vain to rein in the many militias, which have carved out their own fiefdoms and often clash.

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