Panafrican News Agency

Libyan media highlight military dev'ts, meeting between Egyptian president and elders of Libyan tribes

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - Military developments in Libya with preparations and mobilization by both sides of the conflict in the North African country relating to the deployment of sophisticated armaments, particularly the Russian anti-aircraft system S400, in a prelude to the decisive battle of Sirte, were highlighted by the media this week.

They also played up the meeting between dignitaries of tribes loyal to the leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, and preparations for municipal elections in six cities.

The Al-Wassat newspaper said that between the language of the threat of military escalation and the language of alignment with the political process of the Libyan crisis, the drums of war sometimes seem to have started sound, especially after Turkey announced that it will organise large naval and air manoeuvers off the Libyan coast, without specifying a date.

This comes after the start of the Egyptian army's "Decisive 2020" manoeuvers, which began with ground exercises, then extended to the use of an aircraft carrier and submarines.

Under the headline "Between the S400 system in the arena of conflict", Al-Wassat reported that these have prompted analysts to warn of the possibility of direct confrontation.

It said this possibility was hinted in the statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in an interview with the British newspaper Financial Times when he said that the escalation of tension could lead to a direct conflict between foreign forces supporting rival camps in Libya.

The newspaper added that what is worrying is that Cavusoglu has rejected calls for a ceasefire, saying that the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) will not benefit from anything if the ceasefire is announced now according to the current lines of combat. This is why it must control the city of Sirte and the air base of Al-Jafra.

The Egyptian president has declared that from Sirte on the coast in the north, up to Al-Jafra in the south, is "a red line" and that Cairo will not allow to be crossed.

The Al-Wassat newspaper said that media outlets close to the Turkish government published information on the possibility of deploying in Libya the Russian S-400 missile system, which Ankara acquired in July 2019, to avoid expected US sanctions, and at the same time to maintain good relations with Russia.

This scenario angered Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman, Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari, who said Turkey "cannot transfer these missiles to Libya, because it is technically linked to Russia, which has the power to decide to use them outside its territory.

The newspaper added that the European Union appeared more assertive at the meeting of foreign ministers with regard to Turkey, when it announced the preparation of a series of new punitive measures to respond to the excesses of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean and Libya, in case it does not show positive and reassuring reactions towards European countries.

Writing on the meeting between Egyptian President Al-Sissi and dignitaries from Libyan tribes, the Afrigatenews newspaper reported that he said "Egypt will only enter Libya at the request of its people and will come out by order from them".

Mr. Al-Sissi added that his objective is the stability of Libya, ensuring that "the red lines that we have announced are a call for peace in Libya".

However, he added that "we will not sit idly by in the face of any transgression of these lines, because Egypt will intervene directly in Libya to prevent its transformation into a hotbed of terrorism", according to the newspaper.

Mr. Al-Sissi added during the meeting, according to the newspaper, that "we will not allow the eastern region to turn into an unstable region", indicating that "we are ready to take all measures to face threats to Libya".

According to the newspaper, the delegation of Libyan tribes expressed, "their full mandate to the Egyptian president and the Egyptian Armed Forces to intervene to protect Libyan sovereignty, and to take all measures to guarantee national security interests of Libya and Egypt and facing common challenges".

Afrigatenews added that the Libyan notables confirmed that the Libyan Parliament has called for the intervention of Egypt to protect the Libyan people and preserve the unity and territorial integrity of country.

Reporting the reaction of the President of the High Council of the Libyan State, Khaled Al-Mechri, the Afrigatenews newspaper quoted him as saying that the "threats" of the Egyptian president "mean nothing for the Libyans".

Addressing the municipal elections, the Al-Wassat newspaper reported that Misrata, Kikla, Charguia, Tarraghna, Al-Gatroun and Ghat, will hold municipal elections early August, under precautionary conditions to prevent the coronavirus.

The vote will take place in the six municipalities during the first week of Eid al-Adha scheduled for 31 July, after the close of nominations on 25 June, the newspaper reported.

-0- PANA BY/IS/KND/MA 18July2020