Egypt’s al-Sisi says militias hold Libyan government ‘hostage’

President al-Sisi during his televised speech on December 15, 2019. (Screengrab)

Libya’s UN-recognized government is held hostage by “armed and terrorist militias” in the capital, Tripoli, Egypt’s leader said on Sunday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in televised comments that the Government of National Accord (GNA) “is not able to have a free and real will because they have been taken hostage by armed and terrorist militias there.”

The GNA is backed by Egypt’s regional rivals Turkey and Qatar.

Al-Sisi said his country has been “negatively affected” by the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Last week, the Egyptian president said a comprehensive political solution would be achieved in the coming months that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”

In the chaos that followed Gadhafi’s death, Libya was divided into two parts, a weak UN-recognized administration in Tripoli and a rival government in the east aligned with the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar.

RELATED: Turkish lawmakers set to sign off on Libya military support deal

Haftar has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrest control of the capital.

The Libyan commander on Thursday declared a “final” and decisive battle for Tripoli, unleashing heavy clashes on the southern reaches of the city in the past two days against the Tripoli-based militias.

Al-Sisi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s GNA.

Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: 06:56 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56
Top