Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Dairi conveyed “thanks and appreciation” for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s efforts to support the Libyan government’s efforts “to restore security and stability” to Libya.
Al-Dairi’s comments came in a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Sunday, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry. Al-Dairi pointed specifically to Al-Sisi’s remarks during his recent tour of Europe, “noting the support of Egypt to build state capacity and alignment in favour of the will of the Egyptian people”.
The visiting foreign minister represents Libya’s House of Representatives (HoR), one of two rival governments in Egypt’s western neighbour. The Islamist dominated General National Congress (GNC) was meant to hand-over power to the HoR earlier this year, but instead appointed a rival prime minister to form a government in Tripoli.
Egypt’s foreign ministry has repeatedly expressed its support for the House of Representatives, even in the wake of a ruling by Libya’s Supreme Court ordering the disbanding of the HoR. The court is based in Tripoli which is mostly under the control of Islamist militia coalition Libya Dawn, which supports the GNC.
The HoR enjoys international recognition and joined forces with renegade General Khalifa Haftar’s ‘Operation Dignity’, which launched in May with the aim of combating “terrorism” in the coastal city of Benghazi. The HoR ordered the Libyan army to retake Tripoli from the Libya Dawn coalition.
Egypt has been increasingly concerned over Libya’s increasing instability and has participated in several international and regional meetings on the situation in Libya. At the end of October Egypt’s Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi ordered combat readiness of troops in Egypt’s western region near the border with Libya. Egypt also offered to help train Libyan police and army forces in August.
In August, Libya Dawn accused Egypt and the United Arab Emirates of carrying out airstrikes in Tripoli. Egypt denied involvement in the incident and has insisted that it is pursuing a solution through supporting Libya’s “legitimate institutions”.
Haftar has himself thanked Egypt for its support in recent media interviews, but stressed this support is not militarised.
Sunday morning’s meeting saw the two ministers discuss the results of a meeting of Libya’s neighbouring countries held in Cairo in August. The next meeting of this kind is set to be held in Khartoum this week.