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Egypt's Al-Ahram cultural festival to kick off in Libya's Benghazi

Ahram Online , Thursday 11 May 2017
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An Egyptian delegation has arrived at Libya's Benina Airport to participate in the Al-Ahram Cultural Festival, which is set to kick off in Benghazi on Thursday .

The Egyptian delegation, headed by former foreign minister and head of the foreign affairs committee in parliament Mohamed El-Orabi, praised the Al-Ahram Foundation for choosing to inaugurate its first ever cultural festival in the Arab world in Benghazi, which shows a desire to boost communication and friendship between the countries. The delegation includes several editor in chiefs of Al-Ahram publications.

The festival is set to include a book exhibition of 3,000 recent editions in Egypt, Libya and the Arab world. It will also include several seminars on challenges facing the region, combating terrorism, amending the religious discourse and the role of art in countering extremist ideologies. The plane carrying the delegation was the first to land in the city's airport in three years since deadly clashes broke out between rival militias and the Libyan National Army (LNA). The airport is planned to be officially reopened after renovation on 16 May. 

Libyan officials from the foreign and interior ministries received the Egyptian delegation, which arrived on a Libya-based Afriqiyah Airways flight. The LNA, led by eastern-based general Khalifa Haftar, has been fighting for three years to retake Benghazi from Islamist militias.

The army has announced that it managed to capture most of the city's strategic areas. Egypt has been a key mediator between rival Libyan factions, working to resolve the ongoing crisis in the country. Last December, Egyptian officials and representatives from multiple Libyan factions issued a declaration of principles and five proposed amendments to the Skhirat Agreement -- brokered by the UN in 2015 to establish a unity government -- at a meeting in Cairo.

The conference concluded by underscoring four main principles to be respected in Libya's transition: the preservation of a united Libyan territory, support for national institutions, non-interference by foreign bodies, and the maintenance of a civil state.

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