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Egyptian officials discuss securing Egyptian-Libyan border

Uncertainty in western neighbour and securing next week's presidential election are the focus of meeting with top officials

Ahram Online, Thursday 22 May 2014
Interim President Adly Mansour meeting with ministers on Thursday (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour held a meeting with cabinet head Ibrahim Mahlab and other officials to discuss securing the country's borders with Libya, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.

In the meeting, Mansour discussed the latest developments in Libya and their possible consequences in Egypt.

An operations team was formed that will work on how to secure the country's western borders.

Attending the meeting were the ministers of defence, interior, foreign affairs, transport, media and the head of the General Intelligence Services.

Also discussed were means to secure the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for 26-27 May.

Last Saturday, the Libyan army decided to impose a no-fly zone, a direct challenge to retired general Khalifa Haftar, who has been using airpower to press a campaign against Islamist militants.

The day before, his paramilitary force, backed by warplanes and helicopters, pounded Islamist militiamen in Libya's second city and fought pitched battles with the ex-rebels.

Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thani has denounced Haftar's forces as "outlaws" and called on all parties to observe restraint.

But Haftar vowed to continue his war against Islamists, blamed for attacks that have killed dozens of members of the security forces as well as judges and foreigners since the end of the uprising in October 2011.

Haftar, who lived in exile in the United States before returning home to lead ground forces in the 2011 NATO-backed uprising in 2011, heads what he calls a "National Army".

Gunmen stormed parliament in southern Tripoli on Sunday, hot on the heels of an anti-Islamist offensive launched by Haftar in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Weapons smuggling out of Libya surged after its 2011 civil war that led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

With interim authorities failing to build a regular army and police forces, militias have imposed a stronghold over Libya, with large numbers of arms for export freed up.

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