Egypt considering reopening its embassy and consulate in Libya: FM Shoukry

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Feb 2021

The minister said Egypt has no ambitions in Libya and it is working on forming normal relations between two neighbouring peoples

File Photo: Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry

Egypt is looking into the possibility of reopening its embassy and consulate in Libya following seven years of closure, the country's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told a press briefing on Wednesday.

Shoukry said that "an Egyptian delegation made up of representatives from the foreign ministry and security bodies has been sent to Libya to explore the possibility of resuming the Egyptian [diplomatic] presence in the Libyan capital Tripoli as well as the consular presence in Benghazi."

Egypt shut its embassy and consulate in Libya in January 2014 after the kidnapping of four Egyptian staff from the embassy by gunmen and an attack on the consulate. Both incidents came amid the violent turmoil Libya had been mired in since 2011 following the ouster and murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi on the heels of a NATO-backed uprising.

The Egyptian delegation has held consultations with different bodies in Libya to explore the possibility of resuming the Egyptian presence in the Libyan capital, Shoukry said during a joint briefing with his Pakistani counterpart in Cairo earlier today.

According to Shoukry, the step comes on the back of the latest developments in the neighbouring country, which culminated in the election of an executive authority to guide the country until legislative elections are held by the end of the current year.

It also comes amid the Egyptian efforts exerted recently to mediate the peace process in Tripoli and help reach the current ceasefire agreement between the rival parties, in addition to Egypt’s hosting of consultations regarding the Libyan constitutional amendments.

"All these developments have prompted Egypt to expand its communications with all brothers in Libya to continue sponsoring the peaceful path and to cooperate with the UN envoy [in Libya] to [guarantee] the success of these steps in order to restore stability and end the crisis, as well as to ensure that none of the parties resort to military action once again," the minister explained.

"[Egypt] has special ties that bind it with the Libyan people and Egypt spares no effort to work to achieve their interests, which are mutual interests [and] can lead to eradicating the challenges that threaten both countries, whether the challenges of terrorism or the problems resulting from instability or military conflict," he added.

"Egypt has no ambitions in Libya. Egypt is working on forming normal relations between two neighbouring peoples," he stressed.

The minister said that Egypt seeks to cooperate with the Libyan people in all fields on the basis of mutual respect, adding Egypt will continue to interact with all parties in Libya and with international parties, whether the United Nations or the Security Council, to help end the Libyan crisis.

Egypt has been pushing for a political settlement in Libya for years, calling for a ceasefire, a complete disarming of militias, an end to foreign intervention in the country, as well as a fair distribution of wealth between various regions in the country.

In June, Egypt proposed a peace initiative dubbed the Cairo Declaration, which was based on the conclusion of an earlier Berlin conference. The Cairo Declaration proposed a ceasefire as well as the election of a new leadership council.

Since 2011, no single government has had full control over the oil-rich country, and Since 2015 Libya has been torn between warring administrations, one in the east and one in the west.

In a critical step towards unifying the nation, various delegates from Libya's warring factions selected earlier this month a new unified interim executive authority comprising four leaders to guide the oil-rich country through to national elections in December. 

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