CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met incoming Libyan prime minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh in Cairo on Thursday and offered his country’s support in achieving stability in its troubled neighbour, the presidency said in a statement.
Egypt has welcomed the announcement of a new interim government – the latest U.N.-brokered effort to unite rival camps in east and west Libya – and is planning to reopen its embassy in the capital Tripoli.
It had been one of the most prominent backers of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, seeing him as the best option for securing its border with Libya. Haftar’s campaign to take control of Tripoli, in the west, crumbled in June.
Sisi affirmed “Egypt’s full readiness to provide all its expertise and experience … in a way that contributes to putting Libya on the right track and preparing the country to move towards horizons of construction, development and stability”, the statement said.
Egyptian intelligence sources and Western diplomats say Egypt’s attempts to work with Tripoli represents a recalibration of policy after the failure of Haftar’s campaign.
After the meeting, Dbeibeh tweeted: “We look forward to a strategic relationship between the two brotherly countries.”
Egypt closed its Tripoli embassy in 2014, the year when many foreign missions shut during an intensifying conflict that saw rival parallel governments set up in the chaos that followed the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi after four decades.
Turkey, a regional rival of Egypt and military backer of west Libyan factions, reopened its embassy in the Libyan capital in 2017. Dbeibeh also visited Turkey last week.
(Reporting by Mohamed Wali; Additional reporting by Tripoli bureau; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Alison Williams)