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Iran Press TV

Libya warns Egypt against military intervention; France backs Cairo

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 23 June 2020 8:34 AM

Libya's High Council of State, an advisory body to the internationally-recognized government in the country, has warned Egypt against military intervention in Libya.

"We urge the Egyptian army not to be dragged into a gamble, whose fate will be similar to previous gambles, like the case in Yemen," the Libyan council said in a statement on Monday, in an apparent reference to Egypt's costly intervention in Yemen in the 1960s.

Egypt supports Libyan rebels under the command of a military strongman named Khalifa Haftar, even though reports suggested recently that Haftar himself had fallen from grace with his foreign patrons, including Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah el-Sisi.

Sisi – whose inchoate attempts to spearhead a peace process for Libya have been ignored by stronger international actors – said on Saturday that he had ordered the Egyptian military to prepare for "external military missions" in Libya "if required."

The Libyan council also decried Sisi's call for training and arming Libyan tribesmen as "an attempt to fuel sedition and turn Libyans against each other."

"Libya is an independent and sovereign state, and it is the duty of Libya's legitimate government to extend its control over the entire Libyan territory," the council added in its statement.

Haftar and his rebels have been attempting to shore up a parallel government in Libya's eastern Tobruk.

In its statement, the council condemned the speaker of the Tobruk-based parliament, Aguila Saleh, for supporting Egypt's potential military intervention in Libya.

Libya's internationally-recognized government is headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and is based in Tripoli. It receives backing from Turkey in particular.

Haftar's rebel forces – who are backed by the UAE, France, and Russia, besides Egypt – launched an offensive to seize the capital and unseat Sarraj's government in April 2019, triggering some of the most intense fighting in the country.

Recently, government forces have managed to gain the upper hand.

Turkey has been of significant help to the Tripoli-based government by sending sophisticated drones and air defense systems, and also dispatching allied militants from Syria.

Libya Review on Sunday claimed that the Libyan government had given 12 billion dollars to Turkey for military support.

The report came after a high-level Turkish delegation, led by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, paid a visit to Tripoli on Wednesday to discuss ways to strengthen mutual cooperation.

Macron: Turkey playing 'dangerous game' in Libya

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron denounced Turkey's military support for Tripoli, saying Ankara was playing "a dangerous game."

"I have already had the opportunity to say very clearly to President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, I consider that Turkey is playing a dangerous game in Libya today and going against all of its commitments made at the Berlin conference," Macron said on Monday, referring to a Libya peace conference hosted by Berlin earlier this year.

"We won't tolerate the role that Turkey is playing in Libya," Macron added.

But the French president backed Egypt's potential military intervention in Libya, asserting that Sisi had a right to intervene in Libya.

"You noted the legitimate concern of President Sisi when he sees troops arriving at his border," Macron said.

Ankara-backed troops are not known to have operated near Egypt's border.

Macron claimed France was a concerned party "because today, from Libya, each day, men and women are fleeing misery to come to Europe."

Earlier, a peace process proposed by Sisi had been dismissed by European powerhouse Germany.

UN orders probe into Libya abuses

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) has ordered an investigation into alleged human rights violations in Libya, after the International Criminal Court raised the possibility of the mass graves discovered there amounting to war crimes.

The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling on UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to deploy a fact-finding mission to the war-torn country to document violations committed since 2016.

The resolution, which was adopted without a vote on Monday, strongly denounced all acts of violence in Libya and expressed concern about reports of "torture, sexual and gender-based violence and harsh conditions in prisons and detention centers."

The resolution had been drafted by a group of African countries and put forward in March, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the Geneva-based body to suspend its main annual session for three months.

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