Egypt’s el-Sissi is calling for elections in December in Libya

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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi promised to support planned elections in December in Libya in talks with the caretaker Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah, days after the meeting with Putin general Khalifa Haftar.

El-Sissi “stressed the importance of the forthcoming Libyan elections to respect and activate … the free will of the Libyan people,” the presidency said in a statement.

During a visit to Tripoli on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Derek Chollet said the war-torn country had “the best chance … in a decade of ending the conflict.”

Dbeibah, a 61-year-old engineer, was elected interim prime minister by 75 Libyan delegates at UN-led talks outside Geneva, culminating in a dialogue process that began in November.

Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, who also met with el-Sissi along with Haftar, ratified a law last week governing the presidential election.

Critics accused him of not following the right process and trying to favor Haftar.

The putschist general, who lived in the US state of Virginia for decades before returning during the revolution, leads forces that de facto have control over Libya’s east and part of the south.

He is expected to run more and more in the country’s presidential survey later this year.

Cairo has long been seen as one of Haftar’s main supporters.

Egypt’s war-torn neighbor is trying to free itself from a decade of unrest following the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The statement added that in its meeting with Dbeibah, el-Sissi rejected all forms of “foreign interference” in Libya, in an implicit rebuke to Turkey’s military support of the Tripoli-based UN-recognized national agreement.

While Turkey and Qatar have been GNA’s main supporters, Haftar has received support from Egypt, Russia, France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Relations between Turkey and Egypt deteriorated after General el-Sissi overthrew the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, in a coup after just one year in office, but efforts have recently been made to revive ties.

Turkey and Libya signed agreements on security and maritime borders in 2019. The maritime agreement enabled Turkey to secure its rights in the Mediterranean while preventing other regional states from doing anything. However, Greece, one of the main regional players, did not welcome the deal and considered it a violation of its rights, although international law shows otherwise.

Foreign mercenaries and weapons have flowed into the country since Haftar began its offensive, with Russia and the United Arab Emirates acting as the putschist general’s best suppliers. According to the UN, there are currently 20,000 foreign forces and / or mercenaries left in Libya.

The Kremlin-affiliated company Wagner Group has also been accused of supporting Haftar by sending weapons for hire to destabilize the country.

Haftar’s forces were directed from the west of the country last year, and the two camps signed a ceasefire in Geneva in October.

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