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Libyan army: Al-Sisi's remarks a 'war declaration'

June 21, 2020 at 1:26 pm

Members of the the “Saiqa” (Special Forces) of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), loyal to eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar, hold up their group’s flag on November 6, 2020 [ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP via Getty Images]

The Libyan army on Saturday denounced remarks of the Egyptian president, who said Sirte and Jufra in Libya are “a red line,” calling it “a clear declaration of war and a blatant interference” in Libyan affairs, Anadolu Agency reports.

This came in a statement by Abdel-Hadi Darah, a military spokesman of Path of Victory operation.

“[Abdel] al-Sisi’s statements that Sirte and Jufra are a red line, according to his description, is a blatant interference in our country’s affairs, and we consider it a clear declaration of a war on Libya,” Darah said.

“Our heroic forces are determined to complete the journey and liberate the entire region from terrorist militias [loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar], their mercenaries as well as their supporters,” he added.

In a TV speech in the Egyptian city of Matrouh near the Libyan borders on Saturday, al-Sisi alluded to the possibility of sending the country’s “external military missions if required,” saying that “any direct intervention in Libya has already become legitimate internationally.”

READ: Egypt has a ‘legitimate right’ to intervene in Libya, Sisi says

Al-Sisi told his army “be prepared to carry out any mission here within our borders, or if necessary outside our borders.”

“Sirte and Jufra are a red line,” he added.

Al-Sisi stressed that “any direct interference from Egypt [in Libya] has now acquired the international legitimacy, either with the right to self-defense, or at the request of the only legitimate elected authority in Libya, which is the House of Representatives [Tobruk].”

However, the UN recognizes the government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

The government launched Operation Peace Storm against Haftar in March to counter attacks on the capital and recently regained strategic locations, including Tarhuna, Haftar’s final stronghold in western Libya.

The Libyan government has severely condemned the military support by Egypt, the UAE, France and Russia for the attacks of Haftar’s militias on the capital, Tripoli, which began on April 4, 2019.

READ: Egypt’s Sisi orders army to be ready for missions abroad amid tensions over Libya