CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has affirmed his country’s support for efforts to reconcile Libya’s opposing groups and the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections.
El-Sisi’s assurances came during a meeting on Wednesday in Cairo with the president of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed Al-Menfi.
Al-Menfi’s visit comes a day after El-Sisi held talks with Khalifa Haftar, field marshal and commander-in-chief of the Libyan army, and Aqila Saleh, speaker of parliament.
In his meeting with Al-Menfi, El-Sisi said that it was in Libya’s interest to ensure that the country’s sovereignty was guaranteed by fulfilling the “free will of the Libyan people.”
The Egyptian leader said that his government supported the role of the “institutions of the Libyan state to assume their responsibilities and role(s), leading to holding presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya, ending the transitional phase, and allowing the brotherly Libyan people to choose their leaders and representatives.”
Al-Menfi praised Egypt for the manner in which it had supported efforts to restore stability in Libya, including local and UN-sponsored reconciliation efforts, and to ensure the exit of all foreign forces and mercenaries currently operating in the country.
Libya has experienced significant political polarization over a number of years. Recently Fathi Bashagha was appointed by the senate as prime minister-designate, a move disputed by current prime minister, Abdel Hamid Dabaiba, who said he would only hand over power after an election.
Cairo has been attempting to mediate between the two men, to prevent further conflict from erupting.
The UN has faced several challenges in bringing together opposing groups in Libya that would ensure the holding of free and fair elections.