By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 6 March 2017:
Egypt has insisted that dialogue is the only way Libya can extract itself from the current political crisis. Resuming the UN-brokered Libya Dialogue was of critical importance and would help safeguard the interests of its people, Egypt’s National Committee on Libya said stated today.
Libya, it added, had an “historic opportunity” to reach a political consensus bereft of outside interference to end the suffering of its people and ensure stability.
The committee is headed by Egypt’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Mahmoud Hegazy.
The announcement came as some 73 House of Representatives (HoR) members boycotted discussions to elect a committee to the UN-brokered dialogue. Angry over the capture of the Ras Lanuf and Sidra oil terminals from the Libyan National Army (LNA) by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), they want to whole UN-led process to be dumped.
Much to the surprise of many observers, no mention was made in the Egyptian statement about the situation in the central oil crescent region. Egypt has previously been a strong supporter of the LNA led by Khalifa Hafter and made clear its opposition to groups such as the Islamist-influenced BDB.
The omission is seen as evidence of Egypt’s increasing frustration with Hafter following his refusal to meet Serraj in Cairo last month as part of Egyptian-mediated efforts to bring about a settlement in Libya
Instead of backing Hafter and condemning the BDB, the statement expressed its appreciation for the efforts by the HoR and State Council to decide the composition of their delegations to the Libyan Dialogue.