Tripoli and Cairo are heading to end a break between them that lasted for many years after talks that took place in the Libyan capital between Libyan and Egyptian officials, while Turkey threatened retired Major General Khalifa Haftar and his supporters in case its forces in Libya were subjected to any assault.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Libyan Government of National Accord announced that it had agreed with the Egyptian delegation that visited Tripoli to schedule bilateral meetings between experts to overcome obstacles and ensure appropriate conditions for the resumption of flights between the two countries.
The ministry said that the Egyptian delegation promised during its meeting with Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Taher Siala to reopen the Egyptian embassy and return to work from inside Tripoli as soon as possible.
The ministry also stated that Siyala offered the Egyptian delegation several options to resume the work of the Egyptian embassy from the capital, Tripoli.
Earlier, the Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohamed Al-Qeblawi, confirmed that the aim of the Egyptian delegation’s visit to Tripoli on Sunday was to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The spokesman told Al Jazeera that the Egyptian delegation, which included officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the intelligence service, promised to reopen his country’s embassy in Tripoli, adding that the Egyptian side had not set conditions for that.
The Libyan spokesman described the meeting as positive, and stressed during an interview with Al-Jazeera that Egypt’s interests are with the Libyan state, not with any person or party.
A source from the Libyan Government of National Accord told Al-Jazeera that the Egyptian delegation’s visit, the first since 2014, comes as a beginning of the return of bilateral relations.
The Egyptian delegation met with senior officials in the Government of National Accord, including Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Taher Siala, Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha, and the Acting Director of Intelligence.
The Ministry of Interior in the Government of National Accord said that Bashagha discussed with the Egyptian delegation common security challenges, ways to enhance security cooperation between Egypt and Libya, in addition to the political situation, andWays to support the ceasefire agreement in effect in Libya since last October 23, and to support UN efforts to end the Libyan crisis.
In the context, the media office of the Minister of Interior stated, on its official Facebook page, that the head of the Libyan Intelligence Agency, Imad Trabelsi, discussed with the Egyptian delegation ways to support the ceasefire agreement.
The media office stated that the meeting of Bashagha and the Egyptian delegation discussed the outcomes of the Joint Libyan Military Committee (5 + 5), and ways to support the international effort on political dialogue and a way out of the current crisis by political and peaceful means.
The Libyan satellite channel, February, published an exclusive video clip of the meeting held by the Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha and the Libyan Acting General Intelligence Director, Imad Trabelsi, with the Egyptian official delegation.
The head of Egyptian intelligence, Abbas Kamel, visited the city of Benghazi (in eastern Libya) a week ago and held talks with Haftar.
While Cairo affirms its support for the political solution in Libya, the Egyptian regime has, over the past years, directed to Haftar politically and militarily, according to what officials of the Al-Wefaq government confirm.
A warning to Haftar
The Egyptian delegation’s visit to Tripoli comes hours after a visit by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar yesterday to the Libyan capital, at the head of a delegation that included Turkish army leaders.
In a speech to the Turkish forces operating in Libya, Akar responded to Haftar’s recent threats against Turkey and its forces, saying, “Let the criminal Haftar and his supporters know that we will consider them a legitimate target in all places after every attempt to attack our forces.”
On Haftar, he said, “This alleged general believes that buying a military uniform from the market, or placing ranks on the shoulders, can make him a general, as these things are a matter of education, experience, courage and strength.”
He added that Haftar is incompetent, and “is doing his best to obstruct political solutions, on behalf of someone, and cover up his massacres and crimes.”
The Turkish minister expressed his regret for the silence of the international community “on the massacres of the coup Haftar,” expressing his “confidence that the Libyan government will pursue him (before the courts) for these crimes against humanity.”
He said he hoped the International Criminal Court would continue its investigation into Haftar’s crimes and hold him accountable. The Turkish minister reminded that his country’s forces provide military training and advisory services to the Libyan forces within the framework of understandings between the two countries.
While in Tripoli, the Turkish Defense Minister met his Libyan counterpart, Salah al-Din al-Nimrush, and the President of the Supreme Council of State, Khaled al-Mishri, and also inspected the Turkish forces, and he attended the graduation ceremony of about 400 Libyan soldiers who had received training by Turkish soldiers.
Akar’s visit witnessed the signing of more agreements on training the Libyan army, and the Libyan defense minister said that the visit of his Turkish counterpart expresses Ankara’s support for the legitimate government in Libya.