Capture of Libyan oils ports by militant group undermines peace process, Cairo says

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 Mar 2017

Ahmed Abu Zeid
Ahmed Abu Zeid, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt (Photo: Courtesy of Ahmed Abu Zeid official twitter account)

Egypt condemned on Tuesday the forceful takeover by a Libyan militant group of two of the country's largest oil ports, saying the assaults undermine the ongoing efforts to end the war stricken country's political stalemate.

On 3 March, militant group Benghazi Defence Brigades captured the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, 600km east of the capital Tripoli.

The ports were under the control of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, who Cairo supports.

Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that such attacks represent an extreme danger, urging the importance of not allowing "foreign-backed militant groups" to determine the political process in the country.

Abu Zeid also stressed Cairo's commitment to supporting a political solution in Libya, calling on the Libyan parliament and presidential council to refuse any foreign intervention and commit to reaching a political solution.

Last month, a trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria was held in Tunis to discuss the situation in Libya, with the representatives of the three countries releasing a statement on a Tunisian declaration to support comprehensive political reconciliation in Libya.

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

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