Head of UN Libya mission: Egypt has the right to defend its borders

Ahram Online , Sunday 28 Aug 2016

In an interview with Nile News, the head of the UN support mission in Libya, Martin Kobler, said that Egypt has the right to defend its borders against terrorism

Martin Kobler (Reuters)
A file photo of Martin Kobler, United Nations Special Representative and Head of the U.N. Support Mission in Libya in March 2016 in Tunisia (Photo:Reuters)

The UN's head of mission in Libya, Martin Kobler, said that Egypt has full rights to defend its border with Libya against terrorism, in an interview on Egyptian television on Saturday.

Kobler, who is currently visiting Egypt, told Nile TV that the UN was seeking to find a peaceful solution to the Libyan civil war and was not pushing for any one solution.

The Egyptian-Libyan borders cover some 1,000 kilometers. In the absence of a centralised government in Libya, the long border has represented a threat to Egyptian security in recent years, with smugglers exploiting it to smuggle weapons in and out of Egypt.

In January 2016, Islamic State group militants operating in Libya executed 20 Egyptians working in the war torn country. Egypt retaliated in February by bombing IS camps in western Libya, in coordination with the internationally recognised government in Tobrok.

The IS group has also abducted other Egyptian workers in Libya on more than one occasion.

Egypt has warned its citizens against travelling to Libya.

Kobler explained that his visit to Cairo aimed at talks with Egyptian officials regarding the situation and latest developments in Libya.

He added that there was a joint effort between the Egyptian government and the UN to achieve an agreement between the different Libyan parties to form a Libyan national unity government.

Kobler said that the UN was trying to deliver food aid to civilians in the war-torn country.

Martin Kobler arrived in Cairo on Friday after a visit to the United Arab Emirates.

During his visit to Cairo the UN official has met Egyptian officials as well a group of Libyan MPs currently visiting Cairo.

Short link: