Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi announced on Monday that all troops in the western region must be ready to counter possible terrorist threats on the Egyptian border with Libya.
The head of the armed forces, who took over command after former commander Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was elected president, urged the armed forces to increase combat effectiveness to “cope with risks and potential threats,” while “implementing all of the tasks entrusted to [the army] to protect Egyptian national security,” according to a statement on the Ministry of Defence’s website.
Sobhi’s comments came during the Badr 2014 military exercises, in which he oversaw training and inspected groups from the armed forces.
On Sunday, a political action group urged an end to all military activities in Libya, citing “the continued suffering of the Libyan people”.
The group, chaired by Egypt and comprised of representatives from Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and the African Union urged “immediate cessation of all military operations in order to support the political process in Libya,” as well as national reconciliation and the formation of a new constitution.
In a statement released by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the group stated that “a comprehensive dialogue [is] the only way to restore security and stability to the Libyan people,” and urged “all parties and national political figures” to join in the talks.
The group also emphasised tracking down and ending funding for militant groups like Ansar Al-Sharia, as well as ending cross-border arms and drug trafficking which provides valuable income for militant groups operating in large swathes of desert in and around Libya.
The foreign ministry statement noted that the political action group would support and respect “legitimate government institutions” in Libya, as well as supporting national dialogue and the rebuilding of state institutions crippled or destroyed by the ongoing hostilities.
Libya’s second-city Benghazi has been the site of ongoing clashes between government-supported forces and Islamist militants over the last week.
Former general Khalifa Haftar, a general under Libyan former president Muammar Gaddafi, has used his forces to wage his own war against Islamist militias in Benghazi and other parts of the troubled country.