Cairo Declaration on Libya welcomed by Arab and Western countries

Ahram Online , Saturday 6 Jun 2020

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on June 6, 2020 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C), Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar (R) and the Libyan Parliament speaker Aguila Saleh arriving for a joint press conference in the capital Cairo. - Haftar has backed a ceasefire in Libya starting Monday, Egypt's president announced after talks in Cairo AFP

Arab and Western countries welcomed on Saturday the Cairo Declaration on Libya, a joint political initiative announced by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to resolve the Libyan crisis and end the armed conflict in the Arab country.

El-Sisi, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, and Libya's parliament speaker Aguila Saleh announced the new joint political initiative in Cairo on Saturday.

The initiative mandates intra-Libyan resolution as a basis for resolving the country’s conflict under resolutions by the UN and past efforts in Paris, Rome, Abu Dhabi, and most recently in Berlin.

The United States has welcomed the Egyptian initiative, which aims to achieve a ceasefire and help launch the political process.

The US Embassy in Libya said on its Facebook page that the United States is watching with interest as political voices in eastern Libya find expression.

The US is looking forward to “seeing these voices incorporated into a genuine nationwide political dialogue immediately following the resumption of the UNSMIL-hosted 5+5 talks on the modalities of a ceasefire.”

“We welcome efforts by Egypt and others to support a return to the UN-led political negotiations and the declaration of a ceasefire. We call on all sides to participate in good faith to halt the fighting and return to the UN-led political negotiations,” the statement read.

Russia also welcomed the Egyptian initiative, describing it as “important” to end the crisis in Libya.

"Egypt presented today an important initiative to end the crisis in Libya. We welcome all efforts aimed at settling the conflict and restoring peace in all Libyan lands,” the Russian embassy in Cairo said.

The UAE announced its support for Egypt’s "benevolent" efforts to call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya.

"The UAE stands with all efforts that seek to immediately halt the fighting in Libya and return to the political track led by the United Nations in a way that guarantees Libya's sovereignty away from all foreign interference,” the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

"The political track is the only acceptable option to reach the desired stability and prosperity," the ministry said, calling on “the Libyan brothers” to respond to the initiative launched by Cairo.

Saudi Arabia welcomed Egypt efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis, expressing its support for El-Sisi’s call for a ceasefire in Libya.

Riyadh welcomed "all international efforts calling to stop the fighting in Libya and return to the political track on the basis of relevant international initiatives and decisions."

Bahrain announced its support for the Egyptian initiative, and Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the king’s adviser for diplomatic affairs, said on Twitter that the Cairo Declaration is an important step that brings together all parties in Libya to work on starting a serious dialogue in which national efforts are united to reach a historic agreement.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that his country appreciates Egypt's efforts and described the Cairo Declaration as an important achievement consistent with all international initiatives.

The Cairo plan comes after the collapse of an offensive launched by Haftar in April 2019 to capture the Libyan capital, further extending the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) control of most of northwest Libya.

Egypt, the UAE and Russia are backing Haftar, while Turkey has been supporting the GNA.

El-Sisi stressed on the gravity of the current situation in Libya, especially with the crisis’ repercussions not being limited to Libya, but spreading to neighboring countries as well.

He warned against some actors on the Libyan scene pursuing any military action in the war-torn country.

“What worries us is actions by some actors on the scene despite efforts to find an appropriate solution for the crisis,” El-Sisi said.

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