El-Sisi, Ramaphosa discuss Libyan developments

Fighters loyal to the UN-recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) secure the area of Abu Qurain, half-way between the capital Tripoli and Libya's second city Benghazi, against forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who is based in eastern Benghazi, on July 20, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 26 July 2020

El-Sisi, Ramaphosa discuss Libyan developments

  • The two sides reviewed ways of reaching a political settlement within the framework of the Berlin Summit and the Cairo Declaration in an effort to combat terrorism, extremist armed militias and external interference
  • The initiative, which was welcomed by various foreign and Arab countries, mandates an intra-Libyan resolution as a basis for resolving the country’s conflict

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Saturday received a phone call from South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa in which they exchanged views regarding the latest developments in Libya.

A statement from the Egyptian president’s office stressed that the two sides reviewed ways of reaching a political settlement within the framework of the Berlin Summit and the Cairo Declaration in an effort to combat terrorism, extremist armed militias and external interference that threatens regional security and stability.

The Cairo Declaration was a recent joint political initiative announced by El-Sisi, the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, and the speaker of the Libyan Parliament, Aguila Saleh, to resolve the cuntry’s crisis.

The initiative, which was welcomed by various foreign and Arab countries, mandates an intra-Libyan resolution as a basis for resolving the country’s conflict.

Forces loyal to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), who are supported by Turkey, are reportedly planning to launch an attack on Libya’s port city of Sirte and also in Al-Jufra, which El-Sisi recently described as “red lines” in relation to Egypt’s security.

In another development, footage shared on social media showed the moment French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy arrived in the Libyan city of Misrata in an official motorcade.

The visit sparked an angry reaction and widespread controversy in Libyan political circles on all sides. The Presidential Council of the GNA denied having knowledge of Levy’s visit to the areas under its control.

“The council has no relationship or knowledge of the visit and did not coordinate it with him,” Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of the council, said.

The statement indicated that the council took measures to investigate the visit and who was behind it, and that it had issued strict instructions to all agencies, departments and ports to prevent any future violations.

A video clip showed the moment Levy’s motorcade escaped from Tarhuna after he was arrested and expelled from it, and headed to the city of Al-Khums.

Some Arab politicians and activists call Levy, the “Godfather of the Arab Spring,” and accuse him of engineering the French military intervention in Libya and of contributing to the overthrow of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

“The Zionist Bernard Levy, the godfather of the Hebrew spring, arrived in Misrata where a high-level delegation from the militia government (the government of reconciliation) met him, and where visits will be organized for him to Al-Khums, Tarhuna and Tripoli, and where a number of senior officials in the militia government meet. Levy has a dangerous role,” Egyptian MP Mustafa Bakry said via his official Twitter account.

Levy had appeared in Libya in 2011 alongside rebel leaders against Gaddafi. He consulted with then French President Nicolas Sarkozy before the military intervention in Libya, and was even credited with helping persuade Sarkozy to play a major role in overthrowing the former Libyan regime.

Political analyst on Libyan affairs Abdel-Basset Hamel said that Levy’s visit to Tarhuna and Misrata “is a scandal by all accounts,” noting that Levy arrived at Tarhuna at the invitation of the minister of interior of the Al-Sarraj government to provide him with support.

Hamel added that Levy had close ties to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, and that Al-Sarraj presented Libya “on a plate of gold to Turkey,” saying that (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan was “trying to restore the glories of the Ottoman Empire through the Libyan gate. The new Ottomans have returned to Tripoli and are exploiting the Syrian mercenaries looking for dollars.”

Hamel said there were currently thousands of militiamen and mercenaries of various nationalities in Libya, including Egyptians.


Hezbollah responds to Netanyahu with a media tour of steel factory

Updated 27 min 15 sec ago

Hezbollah responds to Netanyahu with a media tour of steel factory

  • The local and international media accompanied the official of media relations in Hezbollah

BEIRUT: A few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah, during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, of having "secret headquarters in the southern suburbs of Beirut," the party organized a media tour of the Jnah area that Netanyahu referred to, to deny the information he provided.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah responded to Netanyahu in a live speech on Tuesday night, and called on the air the media to tour the facility that Netanyahu talked about and said: "We do not place our missiles, neither in the Beirut port, nor near a gas station, nor between homes, and we know." Well, where should we place our missiles? "

The local and international media accompanied the official of media relations in Hezbollah, Muhammad Afif, to the facility that Netanyahu talked about in Jnah area and it turned out to be a steel-cutting factory and said: "We are not scouts for the enemy and we do not provide him with information, but this tour aims to reveal that these facilities have no connection with storage Weapons of resistance. "

The media tour accompanied by supporters of the party chanting for Nasrallah, during which Muhammad Afif said: "The enemy's claims are false, and this industrial facility has existed for decades."

The owner of the industrial facility in the Janah, who came in hastily at night to open the plant to the media, said: "This is a steel-cutting factory. We have workers and we work normally. Our doors are always open to everyone, and there are no missiles in it as you can see."

This plant is located in the industrial area of ​​Jnah, on the administrative borders of Beirut. Netanyahu had said of it that has "missile depots a meter away from gas depots near Beirut airport."

In information released by its spokesman, Avichai Adrai, the Israeli army identified two additional sites, which he claimed "Hezbollah used to manufacture parts for precision-guided missiles."

“One of the two sites is an underground facility built under four seven-story residential buildings in which 70 families live in the Al-Laylaki neighborhood east of Beirut International Airport, and next to it is a church and a medical center, and the second facility is under a complex of five residential buildings in which about 50 families live in Choueifat, located about 90 meters from a mosque.