File photo: Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed in a phone call with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Thursday Cairo’s firm stance on supporting the eastern-based Libyan National Army led by commander Khalifa Haftar.
“The Egyptian president stressed his country’s firm stance on supporting the Libyan National Army’ efforts to combat terrorism and eliminate terrorist organisations, which not only threaten Libya’s security, but regional and Mediterranean security as well,” Egypt’s presidential spokesperson said.
El-Sisi also stressed Egypt's rejection of "any form of intervention in Libya’s internal affairs," the statement added.
The pair also discussed a number of regional issues of mutual concern and boosting bilateral ties between the two countries.
"The two sides also agreed to intensify joint efforts to resolve the conflict in Libya and restore stability in the North African country, which the Italian prime minister said is threatening the security of the entire region," the statement added.
The situation in Libya escalated in the past weeks between the warring parties.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) has been engaged in military confrontations with the militias of the west to secure its presence in Tripoli. Haftar, the head of the LNA, said in a recent conference that “zero hour” had come, and that it was time for the LNA to take the heart of the capital.
Earlier this month, President El-Sisi warned against attempts "to control" neighbouring Libya after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey was ready to send troops to Libya if asked by the country's Government of National Accord (GNA).
Tensions between Egypt and Libya's UN-backed government have escalated after its head Fayez Al-Serraj signed an agreement with Turkey on maritime borders and security last month.
Thursday's call between El-Sisi and Conti also discussed the ongoing investigations into the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni.
Regeni, a PhD student at Cambridge University who was researching Egyptian trade unions, was killed in Cairo in January 2016.
Last year, Italy placed five members of Egypt’s security forces under official investigation for their alleged involvement in the disappearance of Regeni.
Egyptian officials have repeatedly denied any involvement in Regeni’s killing.
The Egyptian president assured of the "continued efforts to uncover the circumstances of the case, reach the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” the statement said.