Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. REUTERS
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has hailed statements by the Libyan parliament and the Libyan presidential council of the Government of the National Accord (GNA) declaring a ceasefire in the country.
“I welcome all the statements issued by the Presidential Council and the House of Representatives in Libya on ceasefire and stopping military operations in all Libyan territories, considering this an important step in achieving a political settlement and the aspiration of the Libyan people in restoring stability and prosperity in Libya, as well as preserving the Libyan people’s wealth,” El-Sisi said in a statement published on his official social media accounts on Friday morning.
The GNA, which is based in the west of the country, issued a statement on Friday morning announcing a ceasefire across the country and calling for the demilitarisation of the contested strategic city of Sirte, which is controlled by rival forces.
In a separate statement, Aguila Saleh, speaker of the rival east-based House of Representatives, also called for a ceasefire.
Both administrations called for an end to an oil blockade imposed by rival forces earlier this year.
The Tripoli-based government also called for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in March.
El-Sisi’s statement is the first from an Arab or Middle Eastern leader supporting a political solution in the war-torn country.
Egypt has been pushing for a political settlement in Libya and calling for a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of militias and halt to foreign intervention in the country, as well as a fair distribution of wealth.
In June, Egypt proposed a peace initiative dubbed the Cairo Declaration, which was based on the conclusion of the Berlin conference. It proposed a ceasefire and the election of a leadership council.
A month later, the Egyptian parliament granted its approval for a potential deployment of the country’s armed forces abroad for the purposes of national security “in the strategic western direction against the work of armed criminal militias and foreign terrorist elements.”
The decision came after President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi warned the country “will not stand idle” in the face of any attack on Libya’s Sirte, which he earlier described as a “red line” for Egypt’s national security.