On Tuesday, the Egyptian president met with Libyan parliamentary speaker and putschist general Khalifa Haftar and promised to continue his support for Libya’s upcoming elections in December.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi received Aguila Saleh and Haftar in Cairo, the Egyptian leader’s office said in a statement.
El-Sissi said his government would continue its efforts “with all the Libyan brothers … to hold the significant presidential and parliamentary vote by the end of this year.”
He also reiterated demands that foreign forces and mercenaries be withdrawn from the oil-rich country.
Saleh and Haftar, whose forces drive most of Libya’s eastern and southern regions and oil facilities, are close allies of Egypt. In recent months, el-Sissi’s government has also reached out to officials in western Libya, apparently to counter Turkey’s influence there.
It was often reported that Egypt supported Haftar, which led to the conflict remaining in the country. In April, the Libyan army stated that two Egyptian planes landing at Libya’s southern Sabha International Airport had brought weapons and ammunition to Haftar.
Abdulhadi Dirah, a spokesman for the Libyan army’s joint operations unit Sirte-Jufra, said the weapons were hidden in a batch of drugs.
Dirah said: “Two of the Egyptian C-130 aircraft landed at Sabha airport under the pretext of carrying medicine but carrying weapons and ammunition.”
Furthermore, Cairo had declared its intention to intervene militarily in neighboring Libya if the UN-recognized National Accord Government (GNA) advances in the strategic Sirte province or Jufra air base, which would leave Egypt with the support of Haftar in a weak position by last year. .
In April 2019, Haftar’s forces, with the support of Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive to try to capture Tripoli. His 14-month campaign collapsed after Turkey and Qatar increased their military support for the Tripoli-based government.
UN-sponsored peace talks led to a ceasefire in October last year and set up an interim government that is expected to lead the country into the December elections. The armistice agreement also demanded the withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries within three months, a deadline that was never met.
The UN has estimated that there have been 20,000 foreign forces and mercenaries, mostly Syrian, Russian and Sudanese, in the North African nation. The presence of foreign warriors and mercenaries is a major obstacle to holding the planned vote.
Libyan legislators have failed to complete a legal framework for voting to take place, raising doubts that the elections will take place as planned.
With increasing international pressure, parliament earlier this month passed a controversial election law for the president, saying it was finalizing it for parliamentary elections, according to the UN envoy to Libya.
The Supreme Government, an executive institution that, among other things, proposes election laws, however, complained that the law was adopted without consulting its members, which can track the roadmap.