Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Saturday that any direct Egyptian intervention in Libya would have international legitimacy at this point.
The president made the statement in a televised speech while inspecting Egypt’s Western Military Zone accompanied by the heads and elders of Libyan tribes, Egyptian Minister of Defence and General Commander of the Armed Forces Mohamed Zaki, Chief-of-Staff Mohamed Farid, as well as leaders of the main branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
El-Sisi explained that any intervention in Libya by Egyptian forces “would be led by the Libyan tribes,” and stressed that “we only aspire for stability in Libya.”
He emphasised that Egypt has no ambitions in Libya, and only wishes to restore security and stability in the country.
“We will not be invaders… we only want a stable, safe and developed Libya.”
“We call on the Libyan parties to respect the current lines and start negotiations,” El-Sisi said, adding that “Libya’s Sirte and Al-Jufra are considered the red line for Egyptian national security.”
The president said that Egypt has called for a comprehensive settlement in Libya that involves the elimination of terrorist militias and has participated in Libya-related international conferences and supported crisis-resolution efforts.
El-Sisi pointed out that the Libyan-Libyan Cairo Declaration initiative came in line with international accords and efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis.
The initiative, which has been welcomed by various foreign and Arab countries, mandates an intra-Libyan resolution as a basis for resolving the country’s conflict under resolutions by the UN and past efforts in Paris, Rome, Abu Dhabi, and most recently in Berlin.
The Cairo Declaration is a new joint political initiative announced earlier this month by El-Sisi, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, and Libya’s parliament speaker Aguila Saleh to resolve the Libyan crisis and end the armed conflict in the Arab country.
During his speech on Saturday, El-Sisi warned against illegal foreign interference in Libya, which he said not only worsens the security situation in Libya, but also affects regional and international security.
“These external parties are working to violate the sovereignty of Arab countries, do not want stability in the region, and contribute to the movement of terrorists,” the president said.
A representative of the Libyan tribes called upon President El-Sisi to protect Libya, saying, “On behalf of the Libyan tribes, we strongly request that you protect Libya and preserve its sovereignty and wealth for the benefit of the Libyan people.”
El-Sisi responded to the call and said that Egypt “is ready to support the Libyan brothers upon request,” and expressed Egypt’s readiness to train and arm the Libyan tribal youth under the supervision of leaders of the Libyan tribes.
Earlier in his speech, the president stressed that it has become imperative for the Egyptian Armed Forces to be ready in light of the instability that prevails in the region.
“I appreciate and value the efforts of the Armed Forces in protecting the western gate,” he said.
During his inspection tour of Egypt’s Western Military Zone, El-Sisi said that the Egyptian army is one of the strongest in the region, and that it is a wise army that protects, not threatens.
The Egyptian military is the ninth most powerful in the world, according to the Global Firepower Index’s 2020 military strength ranking.
“Our army is able to protect Egypt’s national security,” the president said, “inside and outside the borders of the homeland.”