Egypt president says Libya’s government is being held ‘hostage’ by armed militias

Click to play video: 'Alberta connection to Egypt pro-democracy protests' Alberta connection to Egypt pro-democracy protests
WATCH: Alberta connection to Egypt pro-democracy protests – Sep 21, 2019

Libya’s U.N.-supported government is held hostage by “armed and terrorist militias” in the capital, Tripoli, Egypt’s leader said Sunday.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in televised comments that the Government of National Accord “is not able to have a free and real will because they have been taken hostage by armed and terrorist militias there.”

The GNA is backed by Egypt’s regional rivals Turkey and Qatar.

READ MORE: United Nations tells Lebanon no aid until it forms a new government

El-Sissi said his country has been “negatively affected” by the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Last week, the Egyptian president said a comprehensive political solution would be achieved in the coming months that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighbouring countries including Egypt.”

Story continues below advertisement

In the chaos that followed Gadhafi’s death, Libya was divided into two parts, a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli and a rival government in the east aligned with the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

Click to play video: 'Family of Ontario man detained in Egypt urges action from Ottawa for release' Family of Ontario man detained in Egypt urges action from Ottawa for release
Family of Ontario man detained in Egypt urges action from Ottawa for release – Dec 11, 2019

Hifter has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrest control of the capital. He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.

The Libyan commander on Thursday declared a “final” and decisive battle for Tripoli, unleashing heavy clashes on the southern reaches of the city in the past two days against the Tripoli-based militias.

El-Sissi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s U.N.-based government.

Story continues below advertisement

Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.

Sponsored content