Egypt’s parliament approves possible troop deployment to Libya

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Egypt’s parliament has authorized on Monday the deployment of troops outside the country after the president threatened military action against Turkish-backed forces in Libya.

“The House of Representatives unanimously approved deploying members of the Egyptian armed forces on combat missions outside the country’s borders, to protect Egyptian national security… against criminal armed militias and foreign terrorist elements,” the parliament said in a statement after its closed session.

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President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had said on June 20 that his country has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya and ordered the army to be prepared to carry out missions if necessary.
Libya has plunged into chaos since the 2011 toppling of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

Clashes between the two main warring parties in the North African country, the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Serraj, have intensified recently.

Many foreign powers have backed different sides of the conflict with varying degrees of support, with the most prominent countries being Turkey backing the GNA and Egypt backing the LNA.

The Egyptian parliament’s greenlight for troop deployment overseas could potentially put Turkey and Egypt into direct confrontation in Libya.

Last week, Sisi hosted dozens of tribal leaders loyal to Haftar in Cairo, where he repeated that Egypt will “not stand idly by in the face of moves that pose a direct threat to security.”

Libya’s east-based parliament, the sole elected body in the oil-rich country, also urged Sisi to send troops.

Earlier on Monday, Sisi spoke with US President Donald Trump and emphasized that Egypt aims to “prevent further deterioration of security in Libya,” according to a statement from the Egyptian presidential spokesman. It said the two leaders agreed on maintaining a cease-fire and avoiding a military escalation in Libya.

- With wires

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