Egyptian delegation visits Libya, congratulates new parliament
Libya's parliament - REUTERS
By AYA SAMIR

CAIRO: An Egyptian delegation visited Libya Sunday according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry and published on its Facebook page Monday.

Egypt-Libya relations have become tense since the latest round of violence between warring Libyan tribal factions and Islamists following the 2011 overthrow and death of long-time Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi. Egyptians living in Libya have been targeted by militants there, and Egyptian freight trucks have been repeatedly seized and held for ransom. In late July, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry claimed 23 Egyptian nationals were killed in a rocket strike in Tripoli, though Libya later denied this claim.

According to Monday’s statement though, the Egyptian delegation congratulated Libyan leaders for electing a new parliament, and said it was a step in the right direction in regaining stability amidst the country’s ongoing sectarian violence.

The Egyptian delegation also spoke with the Libyan government about the importance of the unity and territorial integrity of the Libyan state, and called for a national dialogue to reconcile the country’s warring political factions.

Youm7 reported Monday that Mohamed Badr Al-Den, the Egyptian deputy foreign minister for neighboring countries and a delegation member, made statements praising the Egyptian mission, as Egypt was the first Arab state to congratulate Libya for its new parliament. “It’s natural that Egypt is the first state to do so, and this order came directly from Egyptian leadership,” he said.

Badr also denounced calls for Egypt to become involved in Libyan internal affairs. This was likely in reference to comments made by former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa on Aug. 3 saying Egypt may have to intervene militarily in Libya to protect its interests.

“These parties will not succeed in changing the solid nature of Egyptian-Libyan relations.” Badr said. “The delegation was warmly welcomed by the Libyan parliamentary members, and we know that most of the Libyan people recognize the importance of Egypt’s support for them.”

The new Libyan Parliament conducted its first meeting in the city of Tobruk instead of the capital Tripoli because of the security situation there, Badr said according to Youm7. Despite the meetings location, Badr said “they sent a very clear message refusing all kinds of violence and militias.”

The Egyptian delegation during its visit also met with Egyptians living in Libya, and reported that they are living normally in Tobruk.

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