191030 Egypt
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, reiterated Wednesday that his country “will not tolerate any threat”, pointing out that the transfer of terrorists to Libya poses danger to Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean region.

Shoukry said during a video conference of the Security Council that “Stability in Libya will be achieved by forming a government that is agreed upon by all Libyans, by dismantling militias, combating terrorism, unifying the army, and a fair distribution of wealth.”

“Egypt calls for this until a political and peaceful solution is achieved, and it is important for the international community to do everything in its power to achieve stability in Libya,” he added.

He pointed out that the Daesh terrorist organisation “has finally reappeared in Libya and this is regrettable.”

He continued, “I take the opportunity to say that the international community is obligated to fight terrorist groups in Libya and to denounce any support given to them.”

Shoukry expressed his hope that “the Libyans will get rid of foreign interference and return to normal life.”

He continued, “Libya has been engulfed for almost a decade in an escalating crisis. This conflict is claiming countless lives in Libya, and continues, despite our best efforts, to constitute a serious threat to stability and security throughout a region encumbered with the heavy burdens of innumerable challenges.”.

He explained the reason for this Libyan predicament which bedevils the international community is clear: contradictory visions for the future of Libya and aspirations of regional hegemony have complicated the efforts of the international community to realize our common objective of laying the foundations of a peaceful and prosperous Libya.

Shoukry affirmed Egypt has been steadfast in its support of every effort and initiative to reach a settlement to the situation in Libya.

“From Skhirat to Berlin, we have been actively engaged in the political process, including by facilitating contacts and negotiations between Libyan parties.

“Unfortunately, however, large swaths of Western Libya have become footholds for extremism and safe-havens for terrorist organizations. These forces of evil have often sought to extend their dark shadow over Egypt by infiltrating our Western borders, and have, occasionally, exacted the heavy price of the lives of dozens of men, women, and children often peacefully worshipping in mosques and churches.”

He said it must be noted that such deadly infiltrations have dramatically decreased due to efforts by the Libyan National Army to secure the eastern areas of the neighboring country, thereby reinforcing the established norm that the responsibility of preserving the nation’s security must remain within the legitimate institutions of governance authorised to bear arms and not in the hands of irregular militias that seek to promote personal or ideological agendas at the expense of the Libyan people.

“The last time I addressed the Security Council on the situation in Libya was in the wake of a terrible crime that shocked the conscience of humankind when 21 Egyptians, working in the city of Sirte, were mercilessly slaughtered by Daesh terrorists in early 2015. That appalling act of barbarism impelled the Council to adopt resolution 2214 urging Member States to combat by all means and in accordance with the UN Charter, Threats to International Peace and Security caused by terrorist acts,” Shoukry said.

He added he was dismayed to reports that Daesh fighters are resurfacing in Libya and have recently reappeared in some cities of Western Libya, especially in Sebratha. “I, therefore, take this opportunity to reiterate the fact that member states are duty-bound to combat terrorism in Libya, including by firmly and resolutely condemning any form of support or sustenance extended by any regional player to the forces of extremism. This situation is further aggravated by the transfer, by a regional player, of extremist fighters from Syria to the Libyan territories as reported on a daily basis by the ‘Syrian Observatory on Human Rights’. This is a very serious threat to the security of Libyans as well as to the neighboring States and to both shores of the Mediterranean. Such threats constitute a clear and present danger to Egypt. We will not tolerate threats of this nature as they approach our borders and, which are aided, abetted, and actively supported by foreign intervention,” he said.

He added support for extremism must cease and desist. “It is incumbent upon us to put an end to the sources of aid and assistance from regional players that are obviously not keen on preserving the stability of the Mediterranean region. Resolving this issue and resisting these policies is essential to our efforts to protect the future of our peoples and of the Libyan people. Egypt’s principled position is premised on supporting a political solution for a unified Libya as expressed by the ‘Cairo Declaration’ issued on June 6th, 2020, which is in complete conformity with the conclusions of the Berlin Summit and the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, as well as the decisions of the League of the Arab States and the African Union. Accordingly, attaining stability in Libya depends on reconstituting the Presidency Council, forming an independent government agreed upon by all Libyan parties and approved by the House of Representatives, as well as disarming militias, combating terrorism, unifying the army and guaranteeing an equitable distribution of wealth.”

Shoukry said it is imperative for the international community to exert every effort to help the people achieve stability in their country and find a path to peace.

He vowed “Egypt will provide its assistance and support to Libya, our direct neighbour and its people with whom we are bound by ties of fraternity in their quest to guarantee the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of their state with stable and efficient institutions of government that serve all citizens equally, and that is free of non-state actors and militias that polarize society and destabilise our region. Our hope is to ensure that the country remains free of foreign intervention and assist this great nation in resuming its essential and positive role as a force for prosperity and stability in the Arab world and Africa.”