Armed forces’ Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy met on Monday his Libyan counterpart Abdessalam Jadallah Al-Salihin to discuss common efforts to secure Egypt’s western border.
Major-General Al-Salihin is visiting Egypt as part of an army delegation.
Hegazy and Al-Salihin addressed the necessary measures needed to halt illegal border-crossing and smuggling between both countries, according to a statement released by armed forces spokesman Mohamed Ghoneim.
The two chiefs of staff also talked about the latest regional developments. A number of high-ranking army leaders reportedly attended the Monday meeting.
This follows another meeting between Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Abdulaziz on Sunday. Abdulaziz arrived in Cairo on Friday to discuss his country’s security challenges with the Egyptian foreign minister.
The talks between both ministers come in the wake of meetings conducted by Shoukry addressing Libya’s security issues, which threaten to spill over its border with Egypt.
Former Libyan rebel General Khalifa Haftar launched a campaign in May to root out “terrorism” in the coastal city of Benghazi; however, the authorities have denounced his actions, labelling him an outlaw.
Shoukry also discussed the situation in Libya with his Moroccan counterpart Salaheddine Mezouar during the latter’s visit to Cairo on Saturday. Both ministers expressed their concern regarding the North African country and their keenness for its stability.
Egypt is currently preparing a conference on Libya’s border security, to be held in Cairo.
Tensions between Egypt and its troubled neighbour have been on the rise recently as a string of killings and kidnappings has targeted Egyptian nationals residing in Libya. Egypt has issued and reiterated a travel warning for Libya.
In May, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi described Libya, in an interview with news-agency Reuters, as one of the security threats facing Egypt, especially in regard to fighting terrorism. The Egyptian foreign ministry voiced “serious concern” in May over the tense political situation in Libya.
Egypt and Libya signed an agreement for military cooperation in April 2013. The agreement tackled border security, which involves the two countries sharing expertise regarding border control and fighting illegal immigration and fishing operations.
However, Egyptians have continued to illegally cross into Libya despite warnings from both governments advising them to obtain the correct documentation before travelling and Egyptian fishermen have been repeatedly found violating Libya’s territorial waters.