Egypt’s FM urges 'active negotiations' to settle Libya crisis, dismantling foreign militias

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Sep 2020

Shoukry called for reaching a comprehensive and official ceasefire agreement and moving foreign troops out of Libya

File photo: Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry stressed to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in a phone call on Monday the necessity of moving to "active negotiations" to reach the desired political settlement in Libya.

Shoukry called for stability on the ground in the oil-rich country, reaching a comprehensive and official ceasefire agreement, as well as dismantling militias and taking foreign troops out of Libya, a statement by the ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said.

Egypt announced an initiative, dubbed the Cairo Declaration, earlier this summer which mandates a Libyan-Libyan resolution as a basis for resolving the country’s conflict.

The oil-rich country has been split since 2014 between two rival administrations in the east and west with parallel institutions; the eastern government is represented by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives allied with the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Commander Khalifa Haftar, while the west is represented by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Egypt, France, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates back the LNA while the GNA is backed by Qatar, Turkish troops, and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.

Turkey began earlier this year sending thousands of Syrian jihadists and mercenaries into Libya to back the GNA.

Libyan rivals had engaged in closed-door talks in the Moroccan city of Bouznika from 6 to 8 September, which yielded a joint statement pointing to "important compromises," according to AFP.

They also agreed to pause the talks and resume discussions during the last week of September.

The Egyptian and Russian ministers also discussed the latest developments in Syria and pushed for reaching a comprehensive settlement drawing on the related United Nations references in a way that preserves the unity, independence and sovereignty of Syrian territories and institutions as well as the safety of the Syrian people.

The call covered the updates on the Palestinian cause. Shoukry and Lavrov affirmed the significance of enhancing security, stability, and peace in the region, in addition to preserving the legitimate Palestinian rights and the principle of the two-state solution, Hafez added.

Egypt supports a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, according to UN Security Council resolutions.

The ministers underscored the importance of proceeding political consultations between Cairo and Moscow.

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