Copy of 2020-06-20T135309Z_2060998637_RC21DH9QS9K9_RTRMADP_3_LIBYA-SECURITY-EGYPT-1592663759431
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi Image Credit: REUTERS

Cairo: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi on Saturday ordered his army to be ready to carry out any mission inside or outside the country to protect its national security amid tensions over Turkey’s intervention in neighbouring Libya.

Turkey supports the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which, with Turkish support, has reversed a 14-month assault on the capital by Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).

Al Sisi on Saturday toured an air base near Egypt’s 1,200 kilometre-long western border with Libya, where state TV showed him watching fighter jets and helicopters taking off.

“Be prepared to carry out any mission, here inside our borders - or if necessary, outside our borders,” he told several air force pilots and special forces personnel at the base.

He said the Egyptian army was “one of the strongest in the region”. “It is a rational army; an army that protects and does not threaten... this is our strategy, our beliefs and our principles that we will never change.” Earlier this month, Egypt called for a ceasefire in Libya as part of an initiative which also proposed an elected leadership council for the country.

The United States, Russia and the UAE welcomed the plan.

Germany said UN-backed talks were key to the peace process.

Tripoli govt to boycott Arab League Libya talks

Meanwhile, the Tripoli government has said it will boycott talks on the conflict in the North African country to be held by Arab League foreign ministers next week.

Foreign minister Mohamad Taher Siala told the bloc’s executive council on Friday that the planned meeting would “merely deepen the rift” between Arab governments on the conflict, his ministry said.

The talks, to be held by videoconference because of concerns about coronavirus, were called for by Egypt