Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria FMs issue declaration on resolving Libyan crisis

Karem Yehia, Tunis , Monday 20 Feb 2017

Egypt FM Shoukry in Tunisia
Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry signing in presence of Tunisian President Esseibsi and Tunisian, Algerian FMs a Tunisian Declaration related to resolving the Libyan crisis (Photo Courtesy of Tunisian Presidency)

A trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Libya, and Algeria concluded on Monday with the representatives of the three countries releasing a statement on a Tunisian declaration to support comprehensive political reconciliation in Libya.

In a press conference on Monday, Tunisia's foreign minister Khamis Alaghinawa, along with his Egyptian and Algerian counterparts Sameh Shoukry and Abdel-Qader Messahel, called on all Libyan parties to participate in talks in cooperation with their neighbouring countries and the United Nations.

The Tunisian declaration included six points that reiterated the rejection of foreign military or political intervention in Libyan domestic affairs.

The statement stressed the importance of preserving the Libyan state and army in accordance with the 2015 Skhirat agreement and its future amendments through discussion and coordination between Libyan factions.

The leaders of Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria will be briefed on the outcomes of the meeting of foreign ministers ahead of an anticipated trilateral summit in Algeria, the date of which has not yet been determined.

Last week, Cairo hosted meeting of different Libyan political factions where Egypt stressed optimism that common ground existed for reaching a political end to the stalemate.

Shoukry said that the main pillar of the trilateral talks in Tunis was the Skhirat agreement, adding that based on the outcomes of last week’s Cairo meeting, the three foreign ministers stressed the importance of having a mechanism of political representation in the Libyan parliament and the High Council of State.

“This is a sound approach of laying one brick over the other, which should lead to the installing of state institutions and dealing with urgent issues like terrorism, as well as establishing stability in Libya,” Shoukry said.

Algeria's FM Messahel stressed on the importance of putting in place a mechanism for implementing a comprehensive political solution on several levels and through talks between Libyan factions.

He added, however, that a date for new parliamentary and presidential elections in Libya remains undetermined, and that this is for Libyans to decide.

Messahel said that the statement issued by the three ministers represents a message to the Libyan people and the international community that stability and security is needed not only in Libya, but also in Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia.

The Tunisian FM said that the aim is to bring the Libyan faction to the dialogue table and create the conditions that would facilitate reaching this goal, stressing the importance of last week’s Cairo meeting in this regard.

On Tuesday, the Egyptian reconciliation committee on resolving the Libyan conflict, which includes Egyptian army Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazi and foreign minister Shoukry, said it had found common ground between the various parties during talks in Cairo, which could form the foundation of a political settlement.

The talks, which took place last Monday and Tuesday, were attended by Chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj, Libyan army General Khalifa Haftar and speaker of the Tobruk-based parliament Aguila Saleh Issa, although Al-Sarraj did not meet directly with Haftar or Issa.

The meeting was the first time the Al-Sarraj and Haftar were both in Cairo for talks.

Sources in the Tunisian trilateral meeting told Ahram Online that the meeting was moved up from its initial planned date of March “after intelligence showed the dangerous situation on the ground in Libya, which is heading towards the outbreak of fighting for control of Tripoli and the crescent oil area.”

The source added that there were also reports of imminent foreign military intervention, especially with Al-Sarraj’s request for NATO to intervene in Libya to resolve the situation.

The same sources said that the trilateral meeting was of particular importance given that it came after broad consultations conducted by Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia with Libyan military commanders.

Hours before the meeting of the three ministers, the Tunisian president announced in a televised interview that he would soon receive in Tunisia Libyan General Haftar, whom he referred to as a patriotic man with a prominent role.

Essebsi added that he is ready to meet anyone who would play a role in reaching a resolution to the conflict.

In December, Egyptian officials and representatives from multiple Libyan factions issued a declaration of principles and five proposed amendments to the Skhirat agreement during a meeting in Cairo.

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