January 1, 2020
Major General Khalifa Haftar arrived in Cairo on Sunday evening, on a quick visit, while the Libyan President of the State Council, Khaled al-Mashri, accused Egypt of leading a coup in Libya. Haftar’s visit comes at a very sensitive time, as Haftar’s forces are engaged in fierce battles in the vicinity of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. This visit also comes at a time when the Belgian capital, Brussels, is preparing to host a high-level meeting of officials of the ministries of foreign affairs of Italy, France, Germany, and Britain, to discuss developments in Libya and come up with a unified vision. Haftar’s visit is scheduled to include a meeting with General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to discuss developments in Libya and ways for Egypt to support the general.
Observers say the meeting paves the way for a forthcoming visit to a high-level European delegation to Tripoli headed by the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security in the European Union, Joseph Burrell. While a Libyan source confirmed in press statements that the European delegation will do its utmost to obstruct the rapprochement between the legitimate government of Al-Wefaq and Turkey.
The source pointed out that Burrell, in his conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Al-Wefaq Government, Mohamed Siala, showed concern about this Turkish-Libyan rapprochement, warning that the Libyan government would receive Turkish forces. On the other side, on Sunday the head of the Supreme Council of State in Libya, Khaled al-Mashri, accused Egypt of leading moves to carry out a coup in his country.
Al-Mashri confirmed in statements to Al Jazeera that Haftar and the Speaker of parliament of Tobruk, Aqila Saleh, have been seeking assistance abroad, especially from Egypt and the UAE, since 2014. Al-Mashri added that the Government of National Accord (GNA) has no great hopes for the international community to solve the crisis in Libya, noting that the international community does not want Libya except for oil and fighting terrorism. He continued, “Haftar has become from the past even for his allies,” stressing that he burned all possible political papers and that he has no place in any upcoming political settlement.
The head of the Supreme Council of State in Libya indicated that the call of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar and Aqila Saleh to Egypt and the UAE to interfere in Libya is what forced the GNA to take refuge in Turkey. Al-Mashri said: “The other party is the one who forced us to seek refuge in Turkey. We have fought alone since 2014, and the attempt of sedition led by the UAE and Egypt and the attempted coup in Libya. After the support Haftar received from several countries, a balance must be struck.” He continued: “We do not invite Turkey to fight on our behalf. We went to Turkey after Haftar and Aqila Saleh had been supported by Egypt and UAE since 2014,” noting at the same time that “Russia to this day does not announce that it is fighting with Haftar but rather Russian companies do, and Moscow recognises the Government of [National] Accord.” Al-Mashri affirmed that the countries of the world did not act and did not listen to the reconciliation government except when it moved towards dealing with a country that can establish legitimacy. He explained, “No one throughout the past period paid attention to us until we became distrustful of international legitimacy. We put the international community in the face of its responsibilities, but we did not get except words about legitimacy.” Al-Mashri said that Tripoli disassociates itself from forming alliances and seeks coordination only with neighbouring countries, pointing out that what links Libya with Tunisia and Algeria is economic and mutual interests that make the vision between us identical.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has, during the past two days, made several international phone calls with US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to discuss possible ways to support the retired general Khalifa Haftar. A journalist close to the regime, Moataz Abdel Fattah, said in press statements that al-Sisi’s activities and his extensive contacts with countries are working to “create an open and silent international alliance to stand next to Haftar against Turkish
interference in Libya.”