Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi discussed the latest violence which reigned over Libya’s Tripoli airport during a Tuesday phone call with Romano Prodi, United Nations Secretary General’s special envoy in the Sahel region.
At least seven people were killed in clashes on Sunday around Tripoli airport. The violence, ongoing since Sunday, has thus far left at least 15 killed in Tripoli and the eastern city of Bengazi, reported Reuters.
Al-Sisi addressed with Prodi the negative repercussions of the devolving violence in Libya and the possibility of its spillover, reported state television. They noted that the Sahel region already suffers from terrorism, adding that the deteriorating situation in Libya might encourage “extremist groups” to relocate there.
Al-Sisi and Prodi stressed the importance of international cooperation to combat terrorism. The Egyptian president added that states which sponsor terrorism will suffer from it “sooner or later”, reported state television.
Egypt’s foreign ministry expressed its concern regarding the rising violence in the neighbouring country on Tuesday. The ministry warned that such violence “threatens the lives of innocent citizens in the Libyan capital”.
Egypt reiterated its travel warning for Libya, calling on Egyptians to avoid travelling to the conflict-torn country. The ministry asserted it is following up with Egyptians residing in Libya, calling on them to “exercise utmost care and caution”.
Rival militias’ standoff at the Tripoli Airport led to its closure since Sunday and prompted the evacuation of the United Nation’s staff from the country. The UN Support Mission in Libya announced on Monday that the “temporary” evacuation is due to its inability to resume it technical support while simultaneously guaranteeing the safety and security of its staff. The mission had already decreased the number of employees at its Libya office one week earlier, citing security concerns.
The third ministerial conference of Libya’s neighbouring countries proceeded on Sunday and Monday to discuss the security situation for Libya in Tunisia. In the summit, the attending countries decided to form two committees, a security committee and a political committee, to provide Libya with advisory suggestions.
Violence in Libya has been a major concern for its neighbours. On 7 July, Libyan Chief of Staff Jadallah Al-Salihin held talks with his counterpart Mahmoud Hegazy in Cairo, discussing security at Egypt’s western border. The talks came one day after Shoukry received his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Abdulaziz in Cairo where the two discussed security challenges in Libya.
Egypt is currently preparing a conference on Libya’s border security, to be held in Cairo.
Violence has repeatedly surged and died down in Libya after the overthrow of former president Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed by militants in October 2011. However, the violence drastically escalated in 2014 when retired General Khalifa Haftar launched a campaign in May to root out “terrorism” in the coastal city of Benghazi. The authorities have denounced his actions, labelling him an outlaw.