Egypt won’t allow Libya to fall to terrorist militias, FM Sameh Shoukry says

Libya may become direct battle ground between Egypt and Turkey - Ex-Turkish minister Yasar Yakesh

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry
Egypt will not stand idly by as Libya falls to “terrorist militias", Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV on Tuesday.

“We have repeatedly warned about the danger of the spread of terrorism in Libya,” Shukri added in the interview saying “Libya and its people will not be controlled by terrorist militias.”

 Shukri pointed out that “the transfer of mercenaries and terrorists destabilizes Libya,” while not directing blame to any country but it globally known that Turkey, aside weapons and fighter jets, mobilised more than 10,000 jihadists fighters from Syria to the North African Nation in support of the Tripoli government.

During the emergency foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday on Libya, he stated that the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that the Arab League “aims to stop the fighting and reduce the military escalation in Libya.”

Aboul Gheit condemned during the meeting “all forms of foreign military intervention in Libya.”

The Egyptian Al-Ahram News site quoted Aboul Gheit as saying: “There is no way but a comprehensive political solution to settle the Libyan crisis in all its aspects.”

The Secretary-General added: “We reject any plans to divide Libya into spheres of influence and create a permanent rift in the Libyan social fabric.”

Earlier on Sunday, Shoukry told Saudi Al-Arabiya that any threat to the Egyptian and Arab security will have an appropriate response, a day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said "any direct intervention by Egypt in Libya has become legitimate in line with UNSC resolutions, and upon the call of the legitimate authority in Libya."

Shoukry said Egypt seeks to enhance the political solution in Libya and calls for self-restraint, adding that Libya’s Government of National Accord, which Egypt does not back, has not correctly assessed President Sisi’s stance.

Shoukry affirmed that Egypt considers the military solution as the last resort.

He denounced Turkey’s “expansion” in Libya, saying that it violates international legitimacy.

Meanwhile, Former Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakesh considered that Libya might turn into a direct battle grond between Turkey and Egypt, stressing the need to stop the tension and give priority to diplomacy.

Yakesh who assumed the position of Ankara’s ambassador to Cairo between 1995 and 1998, and the Turkish Foreign Minister in 2002-2003, pointed out  in an interview with the Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet, the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to the western region in Egypt, during which he announced the possibility of sending military forces to Libya, in the presence of tribal leaders on the Egyptian and Libyan sides might lead to direct confrontation between the two nations.

According to him, “the border between Egypt and Libya is mixed, as part of the tribes in the region are on the Egyptian side and the other part is on the Libyan side. Egypt’s intervention in Libya and the movement of the army there will be easy because there are no natural barriers. The presence of the tribes on both sides of the border facilitates the mission of Egypt.” .

Yakesh emphasized that the Egyptian administration, led by Sisi, considered the “Muslim Brotherhood” the greatest threat to it, and that Libya, under the leadership of the Al-Wefaq government, which it considered linked to the group, constituted a threat to Egypt similar to the threat posed by the PKK to Turkey.

He pointed out that if Turkey continues to strengthen its presence in Libya and its inability to create common ground, the matter may reach a “violent clash” between the Turkish and Egyptian sides.

He considered that it is currently possible to reach a compromise in the event that an opportunity for diplomacy is given, saying: “In the event of diplomatic contacts, diplomats may be able to find solutions that will reduce the losses of both parties. So Turkey should give priority to this matter but it does not do so at the present time.” .

He explained that the agreement to demarcate the maritime borders signed by Turkey with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) came as a “window of opportunity” for Turkey, adding: “But in diplomacy, we cannot achieve everything we want.”

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