Egypt will respond appropriately to any threats to its security or that of the Arab region, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed on Sunday.
He noted that Egypt will only use military solutions as a last resort to defend its security.
Shoukry told the Al Arabiya news channel that Egypt looks to enhance political solutions to resolve the Libyan crisis, adding, “We call for restraint.”
The minister highlighted Egypt’s rejection of the recent Turkish attempts to interfere in Libya, and added that “Turkey is expanding its influence in Syria and Iraq in violation of international legitimacy.”
“We are coordinating with Tunisia and Algeria on a joint vision regarding Libya,” Shoukry said, adding that it is time to restore the war-torn country’s stability.
Also on Sunday, Shoukry told Sky News Arabia that foreign intervention in Libya threatens Egyptian and Arab national security.
Earlier Sunday, during a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Shoukry agreed on the need for a ceasefire in Libya.
At the same time, Libya’s Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh expressed his appreciation to Egypt’s efforts to resolve the crisis in his country.
He added that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s speech on possible interference in Libya came in response to Libyan calls for Egypt “to interfere and support the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) in its war against terrorism and foreign invasion.” In a Sunday statement, Saleh added that militias and terrorist groups in Libya “threaten Egyptian national security.”
Saleh said that Egypt has sought to support a political solution to end the Libyan crisis and reconcile the warring parties in the country. Other countries, referring to Turkey, “were inciting fighting through smuggling weapons and mercenaries to achieve their colonial goals in the war-torn country”.
Saleh called on the international community to activate the agreements of the Berlin Conference on Libya whilst also lending their support to the recent Cairo Declaration. The latter initiative, which was put forward by Egypt, aims to implement a ceasefire and put into effect a political
“Egypt realises the actual reasons for the crisis and its dangerous effects on its national security,” Saleh said, “When ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia militant groups were seizing Benghazi, Derna, and Sirte, they publically announced that Egypt and its people were a target of their terrorist attacks.”
On the other hand, Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) refused on Sunday any attempts “to interfere in the internal affairs of Libya.” It has emphasised that it is the legitimate representatives of the state of Libya, and has the right to determine its agreements or coalitions, saying “All of Libya is a red line.”
Meanwhile, the Arab League announced that it will host a meeting of the Follow-Up Committee to the Berlin Conference on Monday, to address the Libyan crisis.
Also on Sunday, Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs voiced its support of Egyptian diplomatic efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis, saying that it strongly supported a ceasefire in Libya.
Earlier on Saturday, the US also voiced its support of Egyptian efforts to resume UN-sponsored peace talks between Libyan warring factions, according to Al Arabiya. The US Department of State said Washington backs the Libyan people’s desire to end foreign interference in their country, adding that Libya’s stability will be achieved through political solutions.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE have lent their support to Egypt’s right to defending its security and borders. The UAE and Saudi Arabia said they fully backed any action Egypt would take to protect its national security from implications of the Libyan crisis.
On Saturday, Al-Sisi announced that any direct Egyptian interference in Libya has international legitimacy under the UN Charter and under the right to self-defence. It is a right also based on the only legitimately elected authority of the Libyan people, which is the Libyan Parliament.
In a speech during his inspection of the Western Military Zone, President Al-Sisi said that such interference aims to protect and safeguard Egypt’s western borders from threats posed by terrorist militias and mercenaries.
Al-Sisi noted that “Egypt considers militia advances towards Sirte and Jufra as a ‘red line’ that cannot be crossed”.
“The Cairo Declaration is consistent with all international resolutions and initiatives,” Al-Sisi said, adding, “It is also consistent with UN efforts and the Berlin Conference, which aimed to achieve the will and aspirations of the Libyan people.”
Since the fall of Libya’s former leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, the country has undergone years of conflict. The oil-rich country has been split between two parties since 2014, the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, and the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) based in Benghazi.
The GNA is mainly supported by Turkey, which continues to send Syrian mercenaries and other kinds of support including drones and air defence systems. These have helped its forces claim key victories in recent weeks. The LAAF is supported by Egypt and the UAE.