World, Middle East

Tunisian president, Egyptian FM discuss Libya's future

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar on Sunday announced 'expiry' of 2015 deal between country's rival political camps

Ekip   | 18.12.2017
Tunisian president, Egyptian FM discuss Libya's future

Egypt

By Mohamed al-Rayyes

CAIRO

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi on Monday met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Tunis to discuss recent political developments in neighboring Libya.

The discussions were held on the sidelines of a tripartite meeting between Libya's neighbors -- Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria -- with the latter represented by Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel.

According to an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement, the meeting between Essebsi and Shoukry tackled recent developments in Libya and a UN-backed roadmap for the troubled country’s political future.

At Monday’s meeting, Shoukri reportedly stressed the need for "coordinated efforts between Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria" to meet the continued danger posed by terrorist groups operating in Libya.

According to the statement, Shoukri warned of the return to Libya of large numbers of Daesh militants from Syria and Iraq, where the terrorist group has recently suffered a string of defeats. 

2015 deal

In Tunis, the Egyptian, Tunisian and Algerian representatives also reiterated their support for a 2015 UN-backed deal between Libya's rival political camps.

Their joint assertion comes one day after Tobruk-based Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar -- whose forces control much of eastern Libya -- announced that the 2015 deal had "expired".

"On Dec. 17 [Sunday], the validity of the so-called political agreement officially expires," Haftar declared in a televised address.

"On this date, all the political bodies established by the agreement will automatically cease functioning," he said.

Signed under UN auspices in the Moroccan city of Skhirat in late 2015, the deal gave rise to Libya's current Tripoli-based UN-backed unity government.

In September, Libya's main political camps -- including the Tobruk-based government with which Haftar is affiliated -- began fresh talks in Tunisia with a view to amending the terms of the 2015 agreement.

Libya has remained in a state of turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising led to the ouster and death of longtime President Muammar Gaddafi after more than 40 years in power.

In the six years since Gaddafi's departure, the country's stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government -- one in Tobruk and another in capital Tripoli -- and a plethora of heavily-armed militia groups.

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