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The Egyptian initiative to solve the Libyan crisis
Sunday، 30 September 2018 09:46 AM
In the first half of the year 2020, Libya witnessed a major shift in the nature of the military battles, especially with regard to the military control over the territories, after the military progress made by the Libyan army affiliated to the Government of National Accord.
It is worth noting that the Libyan crisis is going through a critical phase that increases its complexity and carries very serious security repercussions that are not limited to the Libyan borders, but rather go beyond them to the neighboring countries of Libya. That is why Egypt seeks to achieve regional stability, end conflicts, and find a political solution to engage in a political path that would get Libya out of the current crisis.
Since the outbreak of the Libyan crisis nine years ago, Egypt has consistently advocated the need for a comprehensive approach to end the Libyan crisis by dealing with all of its political, economic and social dimensions and not being limited to the security dimension.
Egypt, with its great people and strong army, continues to work for peace and call for the settlement of all crises through political tracks that meet the aspirations of the people and respect the rules of international legitimacy. However, this does not mean surrendering and negotiating with the enemy forces, terrorist militias and mercenaries brought in to threaten regional and international peace and security.
Fundamentals of the Egyptian stance towards the Libyan crisis
Egyptian diplomacy seeks a peaceful solution to the crisis in Libya, by supporting Libyan-Libyan political solution and out foreign forces that seek to dominate the capabilities of the Libyan people. Egypt’s stance in dealing with the Libyan crisis Is based on the following:
• Supporting stability in Libya
• Protecting and securing the western borders of the state, with its strategic depth, from the threat of terrorist militias and mercenaries.
• Restoring the security and stability on the Libyan arena, as it is part and parcel of Egypt's security and stability and the Arab national security.
• Stopping the bloodshed of the Libyan people, east and west, by creating suitable conditions for a ceasefire and preventing any of the parties from exceeding the current situation.
• Undermining illegal foreign interference in the Libyan affairs, which further deteriorates the security situation in a way that affects the stability of the entire region.
• Stopping at the line that separates the current forces of both the people of the eastern region or the western region, provided that negotiations begin after that to reach a solution to the crisis.
• Finding a means for a peaceful settlement of the crisis that eliminates marginalization in some Libyan regions, allows for the equitable distribution of wealth revenues and power, rebuilds the Libyan institutions that are capable of carrying out their responsibilities towards the citizens, in addition to its role and responsibility in controlling the borders to preserve the security of Libya and prevent threatening the security of neighboring countries.
Egypt’s most prominent stations in solving the Libyan cause
- On January 2, 2020, the Egyptian presidency has issued a statement in which it has been stated that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held a meeting with members of the National Security Council, to discuss the developments related to the Libyan crisis and the threats arising from external military intervention in Libya, where a lot of procedures have been authorized at various levels to address any threats to the Egyptian national security, following the Turkish parliament has approved a mandate to send Turkish forces to Libya.
- Egypt denounced the Turkish decision. It also considered it as a flagrant violation to the international legitimacy and the Security Council (SC) resolutions on Libya. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has warned, in a statement, against the consequences of any Turkish military intervention in Libya and its repercussions. Egypt has also confirmed that such interference will have a negative impact on the Mediterranean region stability, and Turkey will bear it with full responsibility.
- Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has also said that Egypt strongly denounces the step that has been ratified which based on the false memorandum of understanding that was signed in Istanbul on 27 November 2019 between Fayez Al-Sarraj and the Turkish government on security and military cooperation.
- Egypt also called on its statement the international community to urgently address this alarming development at the regional level and its disastrous effects on efforts to reach a comprehensive and implementable settlement of all aspects of the Libyan crisis through the United Nations track.
- On January 19, 2020 President El-Sisi participated in the activities of the Berlin Summit on Libya, during which the President stressed that there is no way to resolve the crisis except through a comprehensive solution that address all the dimensions of the issue through clear and specific political, security and economic paths, while drafting a clear mechanism for agreement and the will to implement the items included in those tracks.
The outputs of the Berlin Conference represented in the conference’s final communiqué as follows:
1. Exerting an international effort to strengthen the establishment of a mechanism for monitoring arms embargo and to cease providing military support to the parties of the conflict.
2. Formulating a new political process that aimed at strengthening central institutions and returning to a UN-led political process aimed at bringing peace to Libya.
3. Reform the security sector in Libya, so as the state is the only one using force. It also stipulates respecting both international humanitarian law and human rights, and ensure that anyone responsible for violations is held to account as launching attacks on civilians or populated areas and carrying out kidnappings and killings outside the framework of the law.
4. Fair and transparent distribution of oil revenues.
- On February 8, 2020, President El-Sisi participated in the African Peace and Security Council summit on Libya and the Sahel region, where he said that the well- known foreign interference in the Libyan affairs has brought threats that do not stop at the borders of the Libyan state; Continuing to send foreign fighters and terrorist elements from Syria to Libya by thousands, its threat will not be limited to the Libyan territories and not at the present time only, but will extend its impact beyond the borders of Libya to affect the security of its neighboring countries, in particular those with the wide common borders with Libya.
- On May 19, 2020, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi participated at the meeting of the African Contact Group on Libya at the level of Heads of State and Government via videoconference technology, during which the President stressed the importance of giving the fight against terrorism in Libya a special priority by the African side, as it poses a threat to the stability and security of Libya's neighboring countries and the African Continent as a whole.
- On June 26, 2020, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said: “Any direct Egyptian intervention would have international legitimacy, as it would mean self-defense, based either on the UN Charter or on the sole legitimate authority elected by the Libyan people: The parliament.”
He added: “The main goal of intervening is to protect and secure the western borders of the state, known for their strategic location, from the danger of terrorist militias and mercenaries. The second goal is to speedy restore security and stability in Libya, representing an integral part of the security and stability of Egypt and the Arab world.
- On July 20, 2020, The Egyptian Parliament voted unanimously in favor of a resolution authorizing the Egyptian leadership to intervene militarily to protect Egypt's national security.
Egyptian efforts to solve the Libyan crisis "
Egypt is making energetic efforts aimed at settling the conflict and restoring peace in all Libyan territories, and is working to return to the political track as a genuine solution to the Libyan crisis, in line with the relevant UN resolutions and the outcomes of the Berlin Conference, while rejecting any external interference in this regard .
One of the most highlighted Egyptian endeavors is:
The "Cairo Declaration"
On June 6, 2020, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi hold a meeting with Counselor Agila Saleh and Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan Armed Forces at the Federal Palace.
The meeting resulted in the Cairo Declaration of a Libyan Libyan initiative to end the crisis and reach a peaceful settlement that includes the unity and integrity of national institutions and the strong return of Libya to the international community.
This initiative came under the auspices of Egypt, whose actions over the past years aimed to end the suffering of the Libyan people and restore their stability in all fields of life, as the "Cairo Declaration" is a comprehensive and integrated roadmap to solve the Libyan crisis.
This initiative reflects the Egyptian situation in support of the Libyan state and its people, and the assertion that peaceful solutions are the only way to ensure an exit from this crisis, which will preserve the Libyan territories and their wealth that is the property of the Libyan people.
Items of "Cairo Declaration" initiative regarding Libya are:
1. Emphasis on the unity, integrity and independence of the Libyan territories, and respect for all international efforts and initiatives and the relevant Security Council resolutions, and accordingly, the commitment of all parties to the ceasefire, as of 600 time on 6/8/2020.
2. Basing the initiative mainly on the outcomes of the "Berlin" summit, which resulted in a comprehensive political solution that includes clear implementation steps (political, security, and economic tracks), and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, making use of what emerged from the "Berlin" conference of the consensuses among the leaders of the countries concerned with the Libyan crisis.
3. Completing the work of the Military Commission track (5 + 5) in “Geneva” under the auspices of the United Nations, which leads to the success of the rest of the tracks (political, security and economic), taking into account the importance of the United Nations and the international community to bind all parties by removing foreign mercenaries from all Libyan lands, dismantling militias and handing over their weapons, so that the armed forces (the Libyan National Army), in cooperation with the security services, can carry out their military and security responsibilities and tasks in the country.
4. Working on the Libyan state restoring of its national institution with the escalation of the appropriate Libyan national mechanism to revive the political track under the auspices of the United Nations and to invest the efforts of the international community to solve the Libyan crisis.
5. Restoring state control over all security institutions and supporting the military institution (the Libyan National Army), with the National Army assuming its responsibilities in combating terrorism and confirming its role in cooperation with security and police agencies to protect Libyan sovereignty and restore security in the maritime, air and land sphere.
6. The Presidential Council makes its decisions by majority, except for the sovereign decision related to the armed forces.
In this case, decisions or proposals submitted by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces are taken unanimously and in the presence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The Egyptian initiative has received a large global welcome, especially from major countries such as the United States, Russia, France, Germany and other countries, and Egypt is keen on permanent coordination with the United Nations mission in Libya, in order to push the political solution forward in light of what was confirmed by the issuance of The "Cairo Declaration" is one of the possibilities for reaching such a solution within the framework of the principles and conclusions approved by the Berlin Summit.
After Cairo Declaration
Egypt started political movements after the issuance of the "Cairo Declaration", where it communicated with regional and international powers such as the United States, Italy and France, in order to give a momentum to the declaration. Indeed, the world welcomed this declaration, that became a main reference for resolving the Libyan crisis.
On July 16, 2020, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held a meeting with the heads and elders of the Libyan tribes under the slogan “Egypt and Libya: One People, One Destiny.”
The President underlined during his speech:
We will not allow bets on the armed militias in Libya.
Egypt is capable of rapidly and decisively changing the military scene.
We will not stand hand folded against any movements that exceed Sirte line.
We will not accept destabilizing the security and stability of the eastern region in Libya.
We will face with full force any direct movements that threaten the Egyptian and Libyan national security.
The Egyptian army is one of the most powerful armies in the region and Africa.
Egypt always supports the political solution in Libya, and does not have any hostile stance against the Libyan West.
No one of the conflict parties would have solely the political will, the possibility to ceasefire or the ability to resume the political process. This was as a result of the falling of one of the parties under the domination of foreign powers scheming to achieve their aims and interests in the region, regardless of the national interests, the affiliation, and the Arab and Islamic identity of the Libyan people.
On August 21, 2020, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi welcomed, through a post on social media, the statements issued by the Presidential Council and the House of Representatives in Libya to ceasefire and stop military operations in all Libyan territories as an important step on the path to achieving a political settlement and the aspirations of the Libyan people to restore stability and prosperity in Libya and save the capabilities of its people.
On September 3, 2020, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has stressed Egypt's firm stance towards reaching a political settlement to Libya’s crisis, reiterating rejection of foreign interference and the presence-armed militias in the war-torn Arab country. Sisi made the remarks during his meeting with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, in the presence of Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and EU Ambassador in Cairo Christian Berger, said Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady. During the meeting, the two sides discussed various aspects of cooperation and dialogue between Egypt and the EU in all political, economic and security fields, the spokesman added. They also reviewed ongoing efforts to settle the Libyan crisis and the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the fight against terrorism. Sisi and Borrell exchanged views on the Middle East peace process and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis. The president welcomed Borrell's visit, which comes within the framework of the strong ties between Egypt and the EU, as well as the common challenges facing the two sides in the Mediterranean region.
On September 28, 2020, Military and police teams from eastern and western Libya met in Egypt's Hurghada and began security and military talks within the framework of the ongoing (5+5) Joint Military Commission talks, with the facilitation of UNSMIL.
Libya constitutional path talks
On October 11, 2020, Dialogue grouping various Libyan constitutional parties kickstarted here Sunday under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) to discuss mechanism for working out a solution for the Libyan crisis within the framework of the new Libyan constitution. Director of the General Intelligence Service (GIS) Abbas Kamel conveyed to the gathering President's Abdel Fattah El Sisi's greeting and heartfelt wishes of success in activating the Libyan political path and finding out solutions for the Libyan crisis. Addressing the three-day Cairo hosted dialogue, the GIS head called on all parties to shun out differences, highlighting Egypt's commitment to reaching a solution for the situation in Libya, along with bringing Libyan viewpoints closer. "Egypt is keen on Libya's unity and sovereignty and the Libyan solution should come from the Libyan parties, without any foreign interference, said the GIS head.” Time is ripe for achieving Libyan people's aspirations for stability, through giving a momentum to the political path, with a view to reaching presidential and parliamentary elections," Kamel noted. He also highlighted the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada's hosting of security and military talks between Libyan parties in preparation for the Joint Military Committee talks (GMC) 5+5 talks, under the patronage of the UN.
On October 23, 2020, The Foreign Ministry welcomed the permanent ceasefire agreement reached between Libya’s two main warring factions during their current talks in Geneva. Spokesman for the Ministry Ahmed Hafez said today success completes the first face-to-face meeting hosted by Egypt in Hurghada in September to end years of bloody turmoil in the North African country. He lauded Libyan military men's agreement to preserve calmness on frontlines and avoid escalation, calling on all countries that are implicated in Libyan affairs to guarantee that situation there does not escalate. He expressed Egypt's hope for continuing efforts on the political track and backing UN envoy's efforts to preserve Libya's stability and integrity of Libyan lands, underlining the importance of getting all foreign forces out of the country.
On December 19, 2020, Chief of The Egyptian General Intelligence Service (GIS) Abbas Kamel paid a visit to Benghazi Saturday. During the visit, Kamel met with Head of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar. He conveyed a message of support from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to the Libyan people at the various military and political levels, under Cairo role in support of the stability in Libya and the preservation of its capabilities and gains. The two sides discussed several files of common concern. The Egyptian senior official reaffirmed Cairo's full support to the outcomes of the "5+5" Military Committee meetings, which resulted in continuing the ceasefire and taking measures that contribute to stabilizing the military and security situation throughout Libya.
On December 22, 2020, a broad Libyan delegation comprised of 75 representatives of all southern Libyan cities on Tuesday met with chairman and members of the National Committee Concerned with the Libyan Crisis to discuss the latest developments in the North African country. During the meeting, the committee's chairman told the Libyan delegation that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has been keen on preserving the territorial integrity of Libya and reaching an urgent peaceful solution to the conflict away from any foreign intervention. He also asserted that Egypt will continue its endeavors to support efforts aimed at resolving the Libyan crisis and bringing about security and stability there. On their part, the Libyan delegation members expressed their appreciation of the key role played by the Egyptian political leadership to restore security, peace and stability in Libya. They also called on Egypt to contribute to resolving the difficult situation in southern Libya and easing the daily life for Libyan citizens, who are suffering from poor electricity, water, health and education services.
On January 19, 2021, acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission (UNSMIL) in Libya Stephanie Williams praised Tuesday Egypt's keen efforts to sort out the Libyan crisis. During a video conference call with the Libyan constitutional track meetings, which kicked off here earlier today between Libya's Parliament delegations and the Supreme Council of the Libyan State, Williams warned of the "very negative consequences" in case of failing to reach an agreement on the constitutional track in Libya, which will impact the economic and security situations in the country. Meanwhile, the head of the Egyptian national committee concerned with the Libyan affairs urged the Libyan parties to seize such a rare opportunity to set aside all differences and working for adopting a mutually agreed constitutional basis that paves the way for holding national elections in Libya by December 24. The meetings, which will wrap up on Thursday, aim to discuss the constitutional arrangements for general elections in Libya in late December.
On February 5, 2021, Egypt has welcomed the results of the vote to choose the executive power by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum held Friday in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations. In a statement, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ahmed Hafez, expressed aspiration to work with the Libyan Interim Unity government during the coming period until power is handed over to the elected government following the elections scheduled for December 24, 2021. Hafez also praised the UN efforts in sponsoring the political process in Libya, calling on Libyan brethren to maintain upholding the higher interests of their country. He also called on all international and regional parties to support this peaceful track in order to settle the crisis in a manner that would contribute to restoring stability in Libya, and lead to halting foreign interference in its affairs, the departure of all foreign fighters, and imposing Libya’s sovereignty on its territories. Earlier, Libyan delegates at UN-facilitated talks chose Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah as transitional prime minister, along with a three-member presidency council, to govern Libya until December elections. Mohammad Younes Menfi will become the new head of the presidency council in the unity administration.
On February 10, 2021, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has congratulated the new head of Libyan Presidency Council Mohammad Younes Menfi who was chosen by the representatives of the Libyan people recently and wished him success in his new post. Presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said President Sisi telephoned Menfi on Wednesday and congratulated him. The president expressed hope that choosing a new Libyan leadership would pave the way for reconciliation and ending division the Libyan people have suffered for a long time. President Sisi said Egypt will continue to support the Libyan brethren to promote cooperation between the two sides and increase coordination over issues of mutual concern.
On March 10, 2021, Egypt welcomed the vote of confidence given to the unified Libyan government by the House of Representatives, a statement by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said. Egypt is looking forward to working with the unified national government during the interim phase and supporting its efforts to meet its commitments, based on the political resolution roadmap, in terms of holding the elections on time late this year, implementing the outcomes of the 5 plus 5 joint military committee and the economic track meetings with the aim of reaching security and stability in the region, the statement read.
On March 13, 2021, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi phoned head of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohamed al-Menfi, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement. During their phone talks, Sisi congratulated Menfi for winning the vote of confidence by Libya’s House of Representatives to endorse the new cabinet under Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh. Sisi stressed the necessity to build on these positive steps, by pushing forward the path of political settlement and maintaining the current positive climate for the intra-Libyan dialogue, in a way that ends foreign interference in the country. Meanwhile, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Saturday phoned Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh. During their phone talks, Sisi congratulated Dbeibeh for winning the vote of confidence by Libya’s House of Representatives to endorse his cabinet. Sisi hailed the move as "an important historical step on the way to solve the Libyan crisis". He affirmed confidence in Dbeibeh's ability to manage the current transitional phase, achieve comprehensive reconciliation between Libyans, and unify the country's institutions in preparation for holding national elections in December. Sisi also stressed Egypt's full support for the Libyan government, and its willingness to provide its expertise in areas that would achieve political stability, as well as participating in implementing development projects in Libya, which represent a priority for the brotherly Libyan people.
On March 25, 2021, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi reiterated Egypt's unwavering support to the new executive authority in Libya on all international, regional and bilateral levels toward rendering the management of the current historical phase in Libya a success and setting the scene for holding elections by the end of the year. President Sisi highlighted, during a meeting with visiting head of the Libyan Presidency Council Mohammad Menfi, Egypt's firm stand regarding Libya and support for its higher interests out of a steady belief in the importance of preserving Libya's territorial integrity, restoring its security and stability and having the oil-crescent country form a united army, that would in turn contribute a great deal to bringing all foreign interventions to an end and ridding it of foreign mercenaries. President Sisi underscored Egypt's preparedness to offer all needed expertise to the Libyan government in the various domains to help restore all Libyan national institutions, especially security bodies to ensure the priority of attaining security and stability in the country.