Egypt warms up to new Libya gov’t + Turkey really wants to be besties
Egypt and Libya signed 11 MoUs yesterday, putting pen to paper on restoring official ties between the two countries as Tripoli winds down its decade-long civil war, according to a Cabinet statement. The agreements, which were signed during a visit to Tripoli from Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and 11 members of his cabinet, include pacts to cooperate on transport, infrastructure, CIT, electricity and power linkage, health, and education, according to the statement. The two sides also agreed to revive the Egyptian-Libyan Higher Committee and to begin preparing for the committee’s first meeting since it was suspended in 2009, Madbouly and interim Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Al Dabaiba said in a joint presser after their meeting, according to a statement.
Civilian flights between Cairo and Tripoli will resume today, when the first commercial flight from Tripoli will touch down in Cairo International Airport, Al Dabaiba said. The two countries are also looking at setting up a new maritime shipping line, which Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said will be under study.
Egypt will also reopen its embassy and consulate in Libya after Eid Al Fitr in mid-May, according to Al Dabaiba. Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa had coverage of the meetings and agreements, along with Egypt’s efforts to push along Libya’s political settlement (watch, runtime: 6:58). The Associated Press and Reuters also took note of the story.
MEANWHILE- In Turkey’s latest bid to patch things up, Ankara now wants to establish a “parliamentary friendship group,” the parliamentary leader of President Recep Erdogan’s ruling AK Party said yesterday, according to Euronews. The group would bring together MPs from both countries who want to boost ties between their parliaments. The proposal is the latest move in Ankara’s efforts to turn over a new leaf with Egypt since Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu declared a “new era with Egypt” and suggested that officials from both sides would meet to discuss reinstating diplomatic missions. Turkey last month instructed the media to tone down criticism of Egypt, while Çavuşoğlu has also suggested signing a maritime pact with Egypt.
But the Ikhwan are still a thorn in our sides: Turkey isn’t down with Egypt’s stance on the Ikhwan, which Cairo has designated a terrorist organization, Çavuşoğlu said yesterday, according to Reuters. The minister claimed that Ankara did not cut off ties with Egypt because the Ikhwan were removed from power, saying that the issue is with what Ankara says was a “coup.” The minister’s remarks came despite Egypt’s previous statement that it would not hold bilateral talks unless Ankara meets several conditions, including handing over some Ikhwan figures and barring members who fled to Turkey from naturalizing.
ALSO IN DIPLOMACY- Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry landed in the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday as his Africa tour continues, according to a ministry statement. The minister is visiting six countries across the continent to “update” leaders on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam stalemate with Ethiopia, in a bid to rally international support for Egypt and Sudan’s position on the issue.