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The Egyptian president is in talks with Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, days after meeting with renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has promised support for the elections in Libya in talks with the interim Prime Minister of the North African country, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
Sisi “emphasized the importance of the upcoming Libyan elections for respecting and activating the free will of the … Libyan people,” the presidency statement said on Thursday.
Talks with Dbeibah in the Egyptian capital of Ciaro took place days after el-Sisi met Libyan renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, who leads the forces that have de facto control of eastern and parts of southern Libya.
Earlier this year, an interim government was formed to lead conflict-ravaged Libya to the December 24 parliamentary and presidential polls.
During a visit to Tripoli on Tuesday, Derek Chollet, a US State Department adviser, said the war-torn country had “the best chance…in a decade to bring the conflict to an end”.
Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, who also met with el-Sisi along with Haftar, ratified a law last week governing presidential elections.
Critics accused him of failing to follow a fair trial and trying to favor Haftar, who is increasingly expected to run in the country’s presidential elections later this year. Cairo has long been seen as one of Haftar’s main supporters.
Egypt’s war-ravaged neighbor is trying to free itself from a decade of turmoil after the 2011 fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed insurgency.
In recent years, the country has split between rival governments backed by foreign powers, including Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
In his meeting with Dbeibah, el-Sisi rejected all forms of “foreign interference” in Libya, the statement added.
According to the UN, there were still some 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters in Libya last year.
The Russian Wagner group has also been accused of supporting Haftar by sending rental weapons to destabilize the country. Turkey has supported the Tripoli-based government of national accord.
Haftar’s troops were routed out of the west of the country last year, and the two camps signed a ceasefire in Geneva in October.
Raft of deals signed
During Dbeibah’s visit to Cairo, the unity governments of Egypt and Libya signed a series of cooperation agreements and several infrastructure contracts.
The 14 memoranda of understanding cover sectors ranging from industry and hydrocarbons to agriculture, communications and civil aviation, according to a statement from the Egyptian cabinet.
Project contracts signed between the Libyan government and leading Egyptian companies include a ring road around the Libyan capital Tripoli, another road leading from the eastern city of Ajdabiya to Jalu, and the construction and supply of two gas plants.
No details were given on the value of the contracts.
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