France, Egypt join forces to reach settlement in Libya


October 20, 2020

CAIRO – French Ambassador to Egypt Stéphane Romatet announced in press releases on October 13 the launch of a new initiative to resolve the Libyan crisis, in coordination with Egypt. The initiative will include neighboring countries and all political actors in the crisis.

In an interview with Al-Shorouk newspaper on October 10, Romatet said: “France and Egypt share the same views on how to resolve the Libyan crisis, mainly by turning the temporary truce into a ceasefire. – permanent fire and pushing all the Libyan parties to achieve a common political agenda. Despite the difficulty of this, this agenda must be achieved as the only way to fill the political vacuum in the country, as there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis.

On another note, he stressed the need to end foreign influence and interference in Libya, especially Turkey, and to respect the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations on the United Nations. country in 2011.

Romatet’s statements come as Egypt hosts an October 11-13 meeting between members of Libya’s House of Representatives and the Council of State, under UN auspices, to discuss constitutional path .

According to the newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, the meetings focused on legal discussions and proposals to hold a referendum on a draft constitution. At the end of the meetings, the Libyan parties expressed hope to hold a second round of dialogue in Egypt to complete discussions on constitutional arrangements, end the transition phase and begin arrangements for a permanent phase. No date has been specified for the new round.

Ayman Samir, international relations researcher at Al-Ahram newspaper, told Al-Monitor: “Egypt and France share a common opinion regarding the Libyan crisis, and there is a convergence of objectives between them. Cairo and Paris both seek to bring peace and stability to Libya and to implement a Libyan roadmap that will ultimately lead to presidential and parliamentary elections in the absence of militias, mercenaries or terrorist groups.

He added: “In my opinion, Egypt and France are the most affected by the situation in Libya. Paris wants to put an end to illegal immigration from Libya to Europe. The continuation of the conflict in Libya and the transfer of militants towards the west of Libya by the countries of the region, in particular by Turkey, allow the terrorists to set up a vast front extending from Misrata and Tripoli on the Mediterranean to the heart of Africa. It undermines French interests.

He explained that the French initiative aims to advance the ongoing negotiations and start implementing their results on the ground. “The negotiations are focusing on different avenues, but no leaps forward have ever been made. France, in coordination with Egypt, wishes to exploit the current positive atmosphere to move forward and implement tangible political measures on the ground.

Samir believes that Egypt and France have all the qualifications, whether in terms of politics or given their role in the Arab region or at the UN and the European Union, to implement this initiative. “This initiative will not exclude the general principles agreed between the Libyans and the international forces,” he said. It will be based on the Berlin Communiqué, the Cairo Declaration and all the political results obtained during the negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Support Mission. [in Libya]. »

Tarek Fahmy, professor of political science at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor: “There are several avenues of negotiation for the Libyan crisis, whether in Egypt or Morocco, and previously in Berlin and Geneva. The multiplicity and complexity of these tracks could negatively hamper the solution of the Libyan crisis. “

He added: “The addition of French ideas to the Egyptian initiative represented in the Cairo Declaration can be harnessed to achieve positive results. France’s intervention will strengthen the Egyptian approach in the coming period and give it more credibility, especially since Egypt is currently the pivot and focal point of the various dialogues.

Fahmy praised France’s efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis. He stressed that France has great influence within the EU and has the potential to mobilize both the European and international scene.

He argued that “Cairo and Paris converge on several points and positions based on France’s support for the transitional solution, the reintegration of the Libyan army, the building of national institutions, the implementation of a ceasefire, the conclusion of an agreement on the distribution of oil assets, the end of foreign interference. and stopping the transfer of terrorists to Libya. “

Jalel Harchaoui, researcher at the Conflict Research Unit of the Clingendael Institute, declared that “France is seeking to establish itself in Libya via Egypt since the direct intervention of Cairo in Libya is legitimate in the light of of the common border between the two countries ”.

He believes, however, that there is no special consensus between Paris and Cairo regarding Libya. “The two countries strongly oppose Turkish intervention in this country,” he told Al-Monitor.

In his October 10 interview with Al-Shorouk newspaper, Romatet criticized the Turkish intervention in Libya, stating: “Turkey has a specific political program in the region based on the destabilization of the Middle East through Libya and the region. of the eastern Mediterranean.

In this context, Harchaoui asserted that Egypt was in a position to organize its vision in Libya, announcing that the line extending between the Libyan cities of Sirte and al-Jufra was a “red line” and put in guard against direct military intervention if armed militias crossed it. “Egypt did what it wanted specifically in Libya,” he said.

In June, Sisi called for a ceasefire in Libya between the forces of Marshal Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) based in the east, and forces loyal to the government of national accord. . He warned that crossing the city of Sirte and the Libyan air base of al-Jufra is a red line for his country and its national security.

Harchaoui concluded: “Whatever the mercenaries do, Egypt will not have to fight in Libya. One of the reasons that pushed France to prepare a new initiative is that it was out of the game in Libya.


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