All eyes are on the Libyan capital, Tripoli, which is visited by a high-level official Egyptian delegation, as part of new efforts to overcome obstacles and end a diplomatic rupture between the two countries that has continued for years.
A special source in the Libyan Foreign Ministry said that the Egyptian delegation is visiting Tripoli after coordinating the Libyan Foreign Ministry to discuss some important files between the two sides within the framework of an initial return to diplomatic relations between the two countries under the Government of National Accord.
The source added to Al-Jazeera Net that the Libyan authorities called for activating the joint agreement signed between Egypt and Libya, known as the Four Freedoms, which are freedom of movement, ownership, residence and work.
During the visit of the Egyptian delegation, the Libyan authorities are discussing granting permission to the competent Libyan authorities to examine the conditions of Libyan prisoners in Egyptian prisons, in addition to activating the provision of consular services to Egyptian citizens in Libya from inside the capital, Tripoli, and the agreement on residence fees for Egyptian citizens.
Among the files on the agenda of the talks are the restoration of air traffic between the two countries and the opening of Egyptian airports to Libyan aircraft, in addition to the opening of sea ports and the restoration of commercial traffic between Tripoli and Cairo.
The source added, “Undoubtedly, the demands of the Egyptian authorities are security. Therefore, we coordinated – at the Libyan Foreign Ministry – for the Egyptian delegation to meet with high-ranking Libyan military and security officials, in addition to discussing the political situation.”
The source stated that any legitimate demands between the two sides will be within the framework of mutual respect and common interests between the two countries in accordance with bilateral agreements and the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other countries and respect for national sovereignty.
For his part, a member of the Supreme Council of State in Al-Qassem Debar considered that it is too early to talk about the results of the meetings of the Egyptian delegation visiting Tripoli, especially after the recent tension between the two countries.
And Abizaid to Al-Jazeera Net, “The security aspect is the main part of the talks between the two sides, in addition to talking about the political situation, including the option to continue the current government of reconciliation in the performance of its duties.”
The head of the Security Committee of the Supreme Council of State stated that the Libyan side will demand the activation of previously signed joint agreements that serve the two countries, in addition to coordinating arrangements between the two sides after knowing the options of the Egyptian state in dealing with the Libyan file.
Debars believes that the Egyptian authorities will not neglect their ally Haftar in Libya except when they obtain guarantees that they believe are available only in Haftar’s person, noting that the positions of the Libyan authorities in Tripoli on Haftar are clear and need not be detailed.
On the Egyptian side, analysts and experts agreed that the visit of the Egyptian delegation comes in the context of a change in Cairo’s vision in dealing with the Libyan crisis, which is witnessing a calm after a military escalation that reached its climax last summer with an Egyptian threatening military intervention in favor of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar.
The Egyptian academic and political analyst Khairy Omar considered that the visit has a political rather than a military character, which may extend to controlling border security, and search for the idea of solutions rather than conflict, and the results of her discussions may emerge regarding some different settlements, such as choosing a new government or holding elections in Libya.
In statements to Al-Jazeera Net, Omar said that the change of Egyptian policy towards the Libyan crisis comes within a state of transition towards active participation in arranging for a new stage, after the failure of Haftar’s military campaign against Tripoli, whose position has become a subject for discussion with the decline of his fortunes in Cairo, and that he will not achieve the interest Egyptian in the coming period.
Since then, according to Omar, Egyptian views have come out calling for a rearrangement of the Egyptian position in Libya, along with the emergence of strong trends that a strong shift towards the search for peace and support for those looking for a peaceful settlement, after the recent ceasefire has been installed.
Accordingly, Omar believed that Egypt had found the opportunity to develop relations with the various Libyan parties, which seemed to be received by the crisis parties, the activity of its diplomacy, and the opening of a consulate in Sabha, “southwest”, as an indication of the revitalization of relations with the Libyan West.
As for the visit coinciding with the visit of the Turkish Defense Minister, Omar said that it may bear indications that there is a possibility for Egyptian-Turkish coordination in light of common areas in the files between the two countries, but that depends on the movements of other international parties such as Washington and Moscow.
In turn, the director of the Eastern Mediterranean Forum for Political and Strategic Studies, Mohamed Hamed, said that the visit aims to support international efforts in stabilizing the ceasefire, supporting a political solution, discussing development, parliamentary and presidential elections, writing the constitution, creating a new government and ending the era of the interim government.
In statements to Al-Jazeera Net, he added that his country “remains opposed to the Turkish influence and presence affecting the reconciliation government, as long as it affects Egyptian national security in one way or another.” However, he touched on what was raised about the existence of dialogue at the intelligence level between Cairo and Ankara.
An important signal made by Hamed is that Cairo still recognizes the reconciliation government as an internationally recognized government, and their diplomatic relations have not ended.
He stressed that the Egyptian dispute with the Tripoli government is a “disagreement of visions,” citing previous statements by Sisi that his country “does not take sides in the Libyan crisis, but rather protects its national security.”
With regard to Egypt’s position on its continued support for Haftar, Hamed stressed that “Egypt supports the Libyan people’s decision in the elections, as it does not dictate anything to the Libyan people, and it stands at the same distance from everyone.”
For his part, the Egyptian military expert, retired Major General Gamal Mazloum, said that the visit comes in response to the visit of the Interior Minister of the National Accord Government, Fathi Bashagha, early last month, and an attempt to attract parties in the Libyan West, explaining that Egypt wants to confirm that it stands with all parties, and with the stability and security of Libya.
This visit comes a week after an Egyptian delegation headed by Abbas Kamel, head of Egyptian intelligence, visited the city of Benghazi in eastern Libya, during which he met retired Major General Khalifa Haftar. It also coincides with the visit of a high-ranking Turkish military delegation to Tripoli.