The efforts of the Egyptian foreign ministry succeeded on Saturday in setting free a group of Egyptian drivers who were held back amid a road blockage in Benghazi, Libya, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty.
A militia blocked on Friday the international road between Tobruk and Ajdabiya, affecting a number of Egyptian drivers who remained trapped in their trucks for almost 24 hours.
Abdelatty had earlier said the ministry contacted tribal leaders in Eastern Libya in an effort to swiftly resolve the issue and free the drivers and their trucks.
On Saturday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met with his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Abdel Aziz to discuss the security situation in Libya. Egypt is hosting a conference on border security later on this year. Abdelatty said the conference would mainly focus on devising ways to help Libya keep its borders and consequently, its neighbours secure against “terrorists’ weapon smuggling.”
The foreign ministry spokesman renewed the ministry’s travel alert to Libya, calling on Egyptian citizens to avoid travelling to the western neighbour by road. Abdelatty also called on Egyptians residing in Libya to “exercise extreme levels of caution during their movement outside their workplaces and around their areas of residence”.
Tensions between Egypt and its troubled neighbour Libya have been on the rise recently as a string of killings and kidnappings has targeted Egyptian nationals.
In April, 50 Egyptian nationals were detained by armed Libyans for two days on a road between Tobruk and Ajdabiya. Last October dozens of Egyptian truck drivers were abducted along the same stretch of road.
On 4 May, an Egyptian national was killed in a shootout between an “armed gang” and a military patrol in north-east Libya, as 17 Egyptian nationals were deported from Benghazi for forged visas.
Within a period of four days in late March, two Egyptians were shot and killed in Benghazi. Earlier in the month, another Egyptian national was gunned down in the same city.
Egypt has issues and reiterated a travel warning for citizens travelling to Libya. Egyptians are advised not to travel to Libya unless it is absolutely necessary, and to travel by airplane not road only “after obtaining a valid visa issued by the Libyan embassy in Cairo”.
Fahmy received assurances in March from then Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan for the safety of Egyptian expatriates in Libya.