By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 27 December 2016:
The president of the House of Representatives (HoR), Ageela Saleh, has again been holding talks with top Egyptian officials on the Libyan crisis. In Cairo today, he met today with Egypt’s Chief-of-Staff, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazy, as well as Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and a number of other officials.
The visit is seen as having been obligatory. It follows Saleh’s trip just over a week and a half ago to Algiers which is trying to launch its own bid to secure a settlement in Libya.
Algiers and Cairo are longstanding rivals for influence in North Africa. Had Saleh not gone to Cairo following the Algerian trip, it would have severely strained relations with the Egyptians, the main backers of the east Libyan triumvirate of himself, the Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter and the interim Aldullah Al-Thinni administration.
Saleh’s meeting with Egyptian foreign minister Shoukry also followed one last week between the latter and Libyan Presidency Council’s foreign minister, Mohamed Taha Siala, at which the implementation of the UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) was discussed.
Like Saleh, Cairo is also trying to display balance.
However, the National Sovereignty Bloc in the HoR, which works closely with Ageela Saleh, today decided to send five its members to Egypt to explain to the government there why it cannot accept the LPA as it stands.
In a bid to ease problems for ordinary Libyans, though, Egypt is now reported to have decided to ease restrictions on Libyans driving across the border as of tomorrow, Wednesday. Libyan vehicles will be allowed to enter the country for a six-month period. The concession follows the meeting in Cairo a fortnight ago attended by numerous Libyan officials (mainly sympathetic to the House of Representatives’ leadership) but organised by the Egyptians.
Visa restrictions on Libyan students and those with medical needs are also set to be eased.