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Sunday, 21 June 2020

El Sisi warns Turkey, GNA of seizing Libya’s Sirte, saying military intervention for Egypt’s protection would be legitimate

El Sisi warns Turkey, GNA against moving into Libya’s Sirte, suggesting Egypt could intervene militarily: Egypt’s military could intervene in Libya to protect its border if the Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) follows through on threats to advance east and seize the Libyan city of Sirte, which is a “red line,” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in a speech yesterday after inspecting an Egyptian military base near the Libyan border. The intervention would be legitimate under international law as a means of self-defense against “terrorist militias” backed by foreign entities, El Sisi said. The president stressed that any intervention by Egypt would be aimed at achieving a ceasefire and restoring stability in Libya, and would be led by Libyan tribes (watch, runtime: 21:47).

The president urged both sides to avoid a military escalation and instead resume talks geared towards implementing the Cairo Declaration, which El Sisi and the Libyan National Army’s General Khalifa Haftar announced earlier this month to implement a nationwide ceasefire in Libya. El Sisi had sat down with Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel on Thursday to look into recent developments in Libya.

Rallying diplomatic support: Egypt called for an emergency Arab League meeting on the security situation in Libya, which is expected to be held this week, according to state-run MENA. Meanwhile, El Sisi met with Greek Foreign Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday, and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry phoned his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian yesterday to discuss the matter, among other things. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have expressed their support for Egypt’s efforts to resolve the crisis.

The story is leading the conversation on Egypt in the international press this morning: Reuters | Bloomberg | AFP | Jerusalem Post | Libya Observer | Libyan Express.

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