The Egyptian government has taken steps to facilitate a political process in Libya that could end the years-long conflict there, officials in Cairo said ahead of a regional meeting to discuss the Libyan situation.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Saturday that Egypt was working for a political solution to fighting in Libya.
The solution, the Egyptian minister added, would be the sole way of putting an end to the conflict.
“A political solution is the only way to resolve the crisis in Libya.”
Shoukry said “terrorism will never be fully eradicated in Libya until there is a political solution.”
The Egyptian minister was planned to host a meeting in Cairo between foreign ministers from Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Niger as well as Martin Kobler, the UN Special Representative and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, to discuss the situation in Libya.
Cairo has reportedly hosted meetings between key figures of the conflict in Libya in recent weeks, including one between Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, which is based in eastern Libya, and Fayez al-Sarraj, who serves as the head of the unity government, which is based in the capital, Tripoli, in the west, and enjoys support from the United Nations.
Libya has been grappling with fierce fighting between militia groups and rival governments since former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in 2011, following an intervention by NATO. Terrorist groups such as Takfiri Daesh have also benefited from the power vacuum and have established their presence in the war-torn country.
Repeated attempts by the UN and regional entities have failed to effectively end the disputes between rival administrations.
Egypt backs Libya’s eastern administration, a parliament led by Aguila Saleh, and its military wing LNA. Haftar also enjoys considerable support from the United Arab Emirates. Forces led by Haftar managed to gain footholds against militants in the city of Benghazi. The military wing of the internationally-recognized government has advanced against Daesh in Sirte.
Shoukry said the victories against terrorists in Benghazi and Sirte would not mean a full halt to terrorism in Libya and the rival factions should think of a permanent political settlement.