By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 9 October 2014:
Egypt will only deal with the government appointed by the elected representatives of the Libya people, . . .[restrict]the Egyptian prime minister has said. He has also said that Egypt will fully collaborate with Libya on security issues. Egypt’s security was Libya’s security, he said, and Libya’s security was likewise Egypt’s.
Ibrahim Mahlab was speaking at a press conference with Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni at the offices of the Egyptian cabinet in Cairo following talks today between Thinni and Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh Sisi.
Security, both in Libya and on the joint border, and its impact locally and regionally was the main subject of discussion. Sisi was earlier reported in the Egyptian press saying that the situation in Libya and the presence of “terrorists” there would now be his top priority.
According to Mahleb, cooperation would be enhanced, especially on border control and in training for the Libyan armed forces.
For his part, Thinni said that Libya was facing a severe terrorist threat, not just in Benghazi but in Tripoli and elsewhere as well. Some towns had been taken over by terrorists, he said, alluding to Derna, and he again labelled Operation Dawn forces in the capital as terrorists. The government would not talk to them, he said.
Referring to Algerian plans to mediate between the rival factions in Libya, Thinni said that his government had received no invitation to any conference in Algieria. His statement is seen as an assurance to Egypt in view of the growing division between Algiers and Cairo over Libya.
On the wider front, Mahlab said that the two governments had looked at the situation of Egyptians working in Libya and at increasing trade and the exchange of public utilities, notably electricity, between the two countries. In particular it was agreed to reactivate plans for a joint free trade zone.
Earlier, the Egyptian media reported that Cairo was determined to control the smuggling of weapons across the border from Libya and that both the Libyan and Egyptian leaders were looking to ways to end the militants’ control of Derna. In particular, the newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm said that Cairo was deeply concerned about the existence of three camps in Libya full of Egyptian jihadists and members of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood and that a number of them were directly involved in terrorism in Sinai. [/restrict]