Egypt supports reconciliation, development in Libya, PM tells Libya's interim leaders

Mohamed Soliman , Tuesday 20 Apr 2021

Egypt will reopen its embassy and consulate in Libya after Eid Al-Fitr

Libya's Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh receives his Egyptian counterpart Mostafa Madbouly in Tripoli, Libya, April 20, 2021.

Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Mabouly has stressed on Tuesday Cairo's support for national efforts aiming at reaching reconciliation, restoring unity in Libya and achieving development for the Libyan people.

During a joint press conference with the Libyan interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah in Tripoli, Madbouly said Egypt is keen on supporting all Libyan institutions in their efforts to settle the crisis in Libya to achieve development and prosperity for the Libyan people.

Accompanied by a delegation of 11 Egyptian ministers, Madbouly arrived in the Libyan capital Tripoli earlier on Tuesday in the first such visit by senior Egyptian officials to the conflict-torn country since it drifted into chaos on the heels of NATO-backed uprising that ousted long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

"Egypt is the depth of Libya, and Libya also is Egypt's," he stressed during the conference, which was attended by the Egyptian ministers and their Libyan counterparts.

Both countries' officials, Madbouly added, will hold talks to discuss means to boost the cooperation ties in various domains.

He said the talks will also tackle setting a timeframe for the projects agreed upon by the two sides. He invited the Libyan government to visit Egypt shortly to continue discussions on the other executive steps.

He hinted at Egypt's plans to establish a marine shipping line linking the Egyptian and Libyan ports as well as resuming flights from any Libyan city to the Cairo International Airport.

He also indicated that the Egyptian government is ready to help in establishing an Egyptian university and hospital in Libya as part of its endeavours to back development efforts there.

Madbouly’s visit to Tripoli comes a month after an interim government assumed power after almost a decade of turmoil.

Since 2015, Libya has been divided between warring administrations, one in the east and one in the west, both backed by different foreign powers.

The new Libyan unified interim executive authority was selected in February with the assistance of a United Nations-mediated process that brought together various delegates from Libya's warring factions.

It comprised four leaders to guide the oil-rich country through to national elections in December, with Mohamed Menfi chosen to head a three-men Presidency Council and Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah as interim prime minister.

In March, Libya's parliament voted to back the unity government led by interim Dbeibeh.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi called Al-Menfi a week later and stressed the importance of pushing towards political settlement in Libya and maintaining a "Libyan-Libyan" dialogue to limit foreign interference in the country.

Dbeibah told Tuesday's conference that Egypt will reopen its embassy and consulate in Libya after Eid Al-Fitr, which begins in mid-May, while the direct flights between both countries will resume soon.

Egypt shut its embassy and consulate in Libya in January 2014 after the kidnapping of four Egyptian staff of the embassy by gunmen and an attack on the consulate.

11 MoUs signed

Both premiers witnessed the signing of 11 memoranda of understanding meant to boost the cooperation ties in various domains, including in transport, road infrastructure, and power linkage, the Egyptian Cabinet said in a statement following the press conference,

They also agreed to start preparations for reviving the higher Egyptian-Libyan committee, which has been frozen since 2009, to continue development talks between the officials of both counties, including on the conditions of the Egyptian workers in Libya, the statement added.

Egypt has repeatedly warned citizens against travelling to Libya after 20 Egyptian workers were beheaded in February 2015 by Islamic State terrorist group.

The Libyan Embassy in Cairo, however, said in December Egypt would ease travel restrictions to and from Libya.

No official statistics about the number of the Egyptian workers in the oil-rich country, but it was one of the major destinations for Egyptian labor.

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