Egypt parliament begins discussing Sisi’s Libya mandate in closed-door meeting

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 20 Jul 2020

The meeting is expected to see a vote on granting President Sisi a mandate to intervene militarily in Libya

A general view shows members of the Egyptian parliament attending the opening session at the main headquarters of Parliament in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt MPs held a closed-door meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss granting President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi a mandate to militarily intervene in Libya.

The meeting comes in line with Article 152 of the constitution, which states that “the president of the republic is the supreme leader of the Armed Forces. He shall not declare war or send the Armed Forces outside the state's borders to undertake fighting missions unless he first seeks the opinion of the National Defence Council and gains the approval of a two-thirds majority of MPs.”

Article 281 of parliament’s internal by-laws also states that the House shall hold a closed-door meeting upon the request of the president of the republic, the prime minister, the House speaker, or at least 20 MPs, and that the House’s majority shall decide whether the matter subject for discussion is conducted in an open or closed-door meeting.

Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said he would hold a closed plenary meeting to discuss an important subject and that only MPs and the prime minister are allowed to attend the meeting.

“Even parliament’s staff are not allowed to attend this meeting,” said Abdel-Aal.

Abdel-Aal ordered photographers, guards and staff to leave the meeting hall. Abdel-Aal also asked MPs not to divulge the content of the meeting’s discussion.

In a 16 July meeting between leaders of Libyan tribes and El-Sisi, tribal representatives asked him to authorise the Egyptian Armed Forces to intervene to protect the national security of Libya and Egypt if they see an imminent danger to both countries. President El-Sisi said he would do so after obtaining the approval of the Egyptian parliament.

In a resolution passed on 13 July, the Libyan parliament also asked the Egyptian and Libyan armed forces to work together to preserve their shared national security in the face of the dangers posed by the “Turkish occupation.”

In his meeting with Libyan tribes on Thursday, President El-Sisi said Egypt has the strongest army in the region and Africa.

"But the Egyptian army is a very wise force, and it is not interested in mounting occupation operations, and if we need to undertake any operations outside our borders, we will be required to first obtain the approval of the Egyptian parliament," the president said.

President El-Sisi held a meeting with the National Defence Council on Sunday to discuss the military developments in Libya and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which could negatively affect the flow of the Nile river in Egypt. 

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