CAIRO: Former Arab League Secretary-General and likely parliamentary candidate Amr Moussa issued a statement Sunday warning Egypt might be forced to defend itself against the escalating situation in Libya.
“News of new sectarian fiefs in Libya is a negative development that puts the whole region’s stability at risk,” he said
Moussa said the Libyan situation puts Egypt’s national security under direct threat, and called for an open discussion to raise and gauge public opinion in the event Egypt must intervene militarily.
“I call on Libyans to stop targeting Egyptians and to instead protect them and facilitate their return to Egypt,” Moussa said.
Libya has been facing violent and sectarian unrest since a 2011 revolution—assisted by NATO air support—overthrew former longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.
AFP Saturday reported eyewitness testimony from Greeks fleeing the country, and described the situation in Libya as a “civil war.”
“Chaos reigns. There is no government, we have no food, no fuel, no water and no electricity for hours on end,” Araskevi Athineou, a Greek woman living in Libya, told AFP.
Egypt, like many other countries, has been watching the situation in Libya and evacuating its nationals as the situation there grows increasingly dangerous.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said in statements Saturday that the government is “doing the best it can to ensure the rapid return of Egyptians from Libya,” and said it will not make them pay airline fees to return, Youm7 reported.
Tunisia has agreed to accept Egyptian refugees fleeing Libya, and Egypt is sponsoring flights between Egypt and Tunisia.
Former Egyptian Deputy Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Nabil Foad, in comments to The Cairo Post Sunday, described the situation in Libya as a “swamp” that no country wants to get involved in.
However, he also said that despite Moussa’s comments, chaos in Libya presents only an “indirect threat” to Egypt.
“It is the same as what happens in Gaza, but we cannot interfere or take any military action in it as it enjoys its own sovereignty,” Foad said. “Libya is an Arab county, and it’s not logical to take any military actions against it.”
“The internal situation in Libya and our borders with it need permanent observation, and for now, our forces are present, ready and watching,” he added.