Egypt welcomed on Saturday the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) victory in the Libyan city Ben Ghazi over militants and terrorist groups, in a statement by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
LNA’s Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar declared on 6 July the army’s victory over militants to end the battle, which had been going on for three years.
“Egypt strongly believes in the persistence of the Libyan people to overcome the phenomenon of terrorism and end the presence of terrorist organisations in east and west Libya,” the statement read, asserting Egypt’s support for the LNA’s efforts to combat terrorism.
Since the downfall of late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two main conflicting governments in Libya were established: the internationally recognised government of National Accord (GNA) in the east, and the self-declared government of National Salvation, also known as the General National Congress (GNC), in the west.
Libya has also been torn by militants and extremist groups since, who have taken over large areas of land and claimed legitimacy.
In May, the LNA and the GNA decided to “work together” to end terrorism in Libya.
Ben Ghazi was reportedly controlled by the GNC, where the LNA has battled over the past three years to gain sovereignty.
Egypt has long expressed support for Haftar’s LNA and has stepped up its involvement in the Libyan issue over the past few months through holding talks with regional and European governments, as well as meeting with a number of significant high-level Libyan figures.
On 27 May, Egypt has reportedly carried out airstrikes on the city of Derna in eastern Libya, following the shooting of Coptic Christians in Minya in Upper Egypt, which resulted in the death of 28 civilians. The strikes came in coordination with the LNA, according to Egyptian local media, while Libyan local media reported that the presidential council of the GNA condemned the strikes on Libyan soil without coordination with Libyan authorities.
Although Egypt’s stance includes seeking a political agreement in Libya, it also stresses on the importance of backing the LNA internationally to combat terrorism in Libya. In May, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called for lifting the UN-imposed arms embargo on the LNA during his meeting with Haftar in Cairo.