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France agrees to work with Egypt to settle Libya crisis

French President Emmanuel Macron makes a speech during the 56th Munich Security Conference at Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, Germany on 15 February, 2020 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]
French President Emmanuel Macron in Munich, Germany on 15 February 2020 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]

French President Emmanuel Macron has praised Egypt’s efforts to restore security and stability in Libya, according to the state-run Al-Ahram.

In a phone call yesterday, the two presidents discussed stopping all illegal foreign intervention in Libya at the expense of the country’s stability and regional security.

They agreed to work together to reach a settlement for the crisis.

France, along with Egypt and the UAE support Libya’s government in the east of the country run by renegade General Khalifa Haftar, whose military offensive to take over the capital Tripoli has been overturned.

Turkey and Qatar support the rival internationally-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which is based in Tripoli.

The country has been rocked by violence since NATO-backed forces killed long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

At the beginning of this year Turkey intervened in Libya in support of the GNA with air support, weapons and fighters from Syria, in a move it said would help end the year-long siege on Tripoli.

READ: UAE minister warns of war in Sirte

The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Haftar, has now given the Egyptian military permission to intervene in the war.

“We call for joint efforts between the two brotherly nations – Libya and Egypt – in order to defeat the occupier and maintain our common security and stability in our country and region,” the House of Representatives said in a statement.

It follows a warning last month made by President Al-Sisi in which he said that the coastal city of Sirte was a “red line” and that he would send troops into Libya.

Egypt has said that military intervention in Libya is a “matter of Egyptian national security”.

In June, Macron described Turkey’s intervention in Libya as “criminal”, and said of its decision to send large numbers of fighters there: “I think it is a historic and criminal responsibility for a country which claims to be a NATO member.”

In response, Turkey said France was trying to restore “old colonial rule” in Libya and that “France has an important responsibility in dragging Libya into chaos.”

Macron says that rather than backing the GNA, France is looking for a political solution.

READ: ‘France is complicit in Libya’s mass graves crime,’ says Turkish official

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