Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt is concerned about the delay in finalising a political agreement between the competing factions in Libya, the foreign ministry's spokesman, Ahmed Abu-Zeid, said Monday in a statement.
"Egypt is concerned due to the Libyan parties' delay in signing the final political agreement, despite the House of Representatives and the other political forces' approval of the text of the agreement on 11 July," the statement read.
A deadline for creating a unity government in Libya was set for 20 September. The deadline expired amid military escalation near Benghazi,
where six people died in fighting between the forces of Libya's recognised government, and Islamist militants allied to ISIS.
On 11 July, the UN-facilitated Libyan Political Dialogue saw 18 out of 22 participants signing a preliminary agreement in Morocco's coastal town of Skhirat.
Although both the internationally recognised House of Representatives based in Tobruk in the east, and the General National Congress based in Tripoli, participated in the dialogue, the GNC did not sign the framework agreement.
The Skhirat agreement stipulates the formation of a national unity government in Tripoli, the extension of Tobruk's House of Representatives' mandate for a year, and the creation of a State Council for the GNC members, but the GNC sees the agreement as not giving the State Council enough power or a clear role, unlike an earlier 8 June draft agreement.
Egypt expected the United Nations and the parties that are influential in Libya's west to push for a national unity government as an implementation of the agreement "instead of continuing to wait for the lingering parties who might have interests in hindering the political agreement's implementation," the statement read.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya described Sunday's violent escalation in Benghazi as “a clear attempt to undermine and derail the ongoing efforts to end the conflict,” as negotiations in Morocco are at “a final and most critical stage," the UN news centre reported Sunday.
Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman also condemned the spread of terrorism in Libya due to the delay in the agreement's implementation, "which stirs doubts about its motives, as some see it as intentional, aiming at spreading chaos and preventing legitimacy from taking control."
Abu-Zeid stressed Egypt's support for anti-terrorism measures in Libya and, for the House of Representatives as a legitimate body.
"It is no longer acceptable that the international community waits forever for the implementation of the political agreement, as fighting terrorism in Libya is a top priority, especially for the neighbouring countries that consider terrorism in Libya to be a direct threat to their national security," the statement said.
Egyptian authorities are concerned that militants active in Libya may be able to penetrate the country's borders.
At least 21 Egyptian soldiers were killed in July 2014 when gunmen attacked a military checkpoint in the New Valley Governorate, which borders Libya.
The political conflict emerged following the ouster of Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, which left rival militias and factions battling for control.