Libyan parliament calls on Egypt to protect Sirte, Al-Jufra from attacks

Special Libyan parliament calls on Egypt to protect Sirte, Al-Jufra from attacks
Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government prepare themselves before heading to Sirte, in Tripoli, Libya, Libya July 6, 2020. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 14 July 2020

Libyan parliament calls on Egypt to protect Sirte, Al-Jufra from attacks

Libyan parliament calls on Egypt to protect Sirte, Al-Jufra from attacks
  • Turkey has sent mercenaries to Libya

CAIRO: Libya’s parliament has called on Egyptian armed forces to intervene and protect the two countries’ national security.

It welcomed a recent speech from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in which he called for concerted efforts between the two nations to achieve security and stability in Libya.

The parliamentary statement came a few days after Turkey again threatened to attack the Libyan cities of Sirte and Al-Jufra in a conflict pitting the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, headed by GNA Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, against the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by military commander Khalifa Haftar.

An imminent military escalation could affect the security and stability of Libya and threaten North African countries in general because of the large number of mercenaries that Ankara has sent to the country.

“The Libyan parliament is the only legitimate representative elected by the Libyan people and representative of its free will, confirming its acceptance of what was said in the Egyptian president’s speech in the presence of representatives of Libyan tribes,” it said. “We call for concerted efforts between Libya and Egypt to ensure the defeat of the invading occupier and preserve our common national security. It will bring security and stability to our country and the region.”

Egypt’s armed forces may intervene to protect Libyan and Egyptian national security if they saw an “imminent threat” to the security of the two countries, it added. “Our confrontation with the invaders guarantees the independence of the Libyan nation and preserves the sovereignty and unity of Libya, and preserves the wealth and capabilities of the Libyan people from the ambitions of the colonial invaders … the supreme word will be for the Libyan people in accordance with their free will and supreme interests.”

The parliamentary statement said that Libya rejected Turkish interference and any violation of Libyan sovereignty.

“Egypt represents a strategic depth for Libya at all levels of security — economic and social — throughout history. The Turkish occupation directly threatens Libya and the neighboring countries, especially Egypt, which will only stop with the efforts of neighboring Arab countries.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his country would carry out oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean region on the coast of Libya, which observers said revealed Ankara's intentions to plunder Libya’s oil wealth. They said that the Turkish regime apparently planned to solve its looming economic crisis by stealing the wealth of people in the Mediterranean.

Turkey faces a number of challenges that prevent the implementation of its plan to advance on Sirte and Al-Jufra, including the lack of a true popular movement as the majority of people in the two cities support LNA forces and refuse the entry of militias or mercenaries.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told the UN Security Council earlier this month that Egypt would not allow militias to threaten its security. Shoukry, speaking about the Libya situation, said: “We will not tolerate these dangers to our country. We call on the international community to face the danger of terrorist organizations in Libya.”

Mohamed El-Ghabbari, an Egyptian military expert and former director of the National Defense College, said that Turkey was unaware of Libya's vast geography and also unaware of important matters regarding the role of Libya’s tribes.

“The General Command of the Libyan Army announced more than once its readiness to confront any attempts by Turkey to advance toward Sirte and Al-Jufra,” El-Ghabbari told Arab News.

He said that its forces and military units were ready to repel any attack by Ankara by mercenaries and militias funded by the GNA government in Tripoli. Egyptian support would arrive “at the appropriate time.”

El-Ghabbari said the Turks must not forget that their recent statements came at a time when the Egyptian military was conducting military drills aimed at eliminating mercenaries from irregular armies, “which means that Egypt is ready to respond at any time.”

Ahmed Fouad Abaza, an Egyptian parliamentarian, backed the demand of the Libyan parliament, saying that the political chaos in Libya was caused by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporter Turkey “which seeks to stabilize the Brotherhood organization on Libyan lands and seeks to control Libyan oil to save its collapsed economy.”

Abaza added that, after the failure of Turkey and Qatar to revive the Brotherhood in a number of Arab countries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was seeking to try to revive the Brotherhood inside Libya.

Abaza hailed the LNA in the face of “terrorist and criminal acts carried out by Turkey inside Libyan territories” and said that if “blood and destruction” were present in any country or place within the region that Erdogan’s regime was behind it.

He called on the “legitimate political forces” inside Libya and the Libyan people to stand behind the LNA so that all Libyan lands could be "liberated from desecration and the abomination of evil, darkness and terrorism."