Sunday, 20 January:
The Prime Minister has made it clear that he does not believe that his Egyptian counterpart, Hisham Qandil has made any claims on Libyan territory.
The Egyptian premier was reported two days ago in a Lebanese paper, Al Diyar, saying that Egypt had rights in regard to parts of eastern Libya, including Jaghabub.
According to the Libyan government’s website today, Sunday, Ali Zeidan places no credibility in the story. He added that he had just met with the Egyptian ambassador who expressed surprise at the story and assured him that such claims were out of the question.
Egypt, Zeidan said, was a “dear neighbour that has a special place in the hearts of the Libyan people”.
While warning that Libya would allow no one to harm its sovereignty or any part of its territory, he also stressed that Libya was intent on developing “cooperation with our neighbours and brothers, led by Egypt”. He added that he hoped for an explanation from Egypt because “we hope to consolidate the relationship with Egypt in the best degree of respect and appreciation”.
Under the 1925 agreement between Egypt and Italy, Egypt ceded claims to a large slice of Cyrenaica territory, including Jaghbub and Kufra. After World War II, between 1946 and 1949, Egypt claimed Bardiya on the coast and Jaghbub but there have been no claims since Libyan independence in 1951.
The Lebanese paper concerned, Al Diyar, is widely viewed in Lebanon as supporting the Assad regime in Syria and deeply opposed to the Arab Uprising. There have been widespread claims that it is trying to sow dissension between Libya and Egypt.
The Egyptian Prime Minister has denied he ever said that Egypt had any claims on Libyan territory. Egyptian Government spokesman Alaa Hadidi said on Sunday that Hisham Qandil had made no such statement nor had any Egyptian official reported it. Stressing the close relations between the Egyptian and Libyan government and people, he pointed out that they had a great deal in common, especially both having had a revolution to bring about a change. [/restrict]