Egypt forms ministerial committee for return of Egyptian workers to Libya

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Apr 2021

Libya has urged the return of Egyptian labourers and facilitating movement between the two countries, Madbouly said

PM Madbouly
PM Mostafa Madbouly

Egypt said on Wednesday it has formed a ministerial committee to examine frameworks for the return of Egyptian workers to Libya, a statement by the cabinet read.

The statement was released one day after a first-ever visit by a top governmental delegation, comprising Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and 11 ministers, to Tripoli for talks on development in the war-torn country.

Madbouly discussed during a cabinet meeting his visit to the Libyan capital and talks with the Libyan Interim Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Mohamed Dbeibah.

He said that the Libyan side has urged taking steps for the return of Egyptian labourers to Libya and facilitating movement between the two countries.

Libya is a key destination for Egyptian migrant workers from rural areas, mainly in the construction and craft industries.

The Egyptian foreign ministry has repeatedly called on expats living in Libya in the past years to return home amid heightened tensions since 2011 after Libya had fallen into chaos on the heels of a NATO-backed uprising that ousted long-time autocrat Muammar Gaddafi.

Madbouly said his visit resulted in setting a date for the resumption of the joint High Egyptian-Libya Committee after its suspension in 2009.

He asked concerned ministers to coordinate with their counterparts in the newly formed Libyan unity government to start operational plans to prepare for the upcoming meetings of the committee.

Madbouly said there are near future plans to boost bilateral economic and social ties, affirming Cairo’s political support of the newly formed Libyan government.

Eleven memoranda of understanding (MOU) were signed between the two countries in several fields, including transport, road infrastructure, and power linkage, during the recent visit of the Egyptian delegation to Libya.

The visit signalled a green light for the resumption of flights between the two capitals, with the first direct flight by a Libyan airliner set to arrive in Cairo on Wednesday.

The two sides have also agreed to reopen Egypt's embassy and consulate in Libya after Eid Al-Fitr.

In February, Egypt approved the resumption of flights by Libyan airlines, seeing the arrival of a flight from Benghazi’s Benina International Airport to Alexandria’s Borg Al-Arab Airport.

A return of Egypt’s political presence in the Libyan capital comes months after Egypt sent in February a delegation to explore the possibility of reopening its embassy and consulate in the country.

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

The interest in resuming an Egyptian presence in the neighbouring country comes on the back of the latest Libyan developments, which culminated in the election of an executive authority to guide the country until legislative elections are held by the end of the year.  

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