Egypt and Russia say they will increase efforts to end crisis in Libya

Putin and El Sisi to ‘intensify joint efforts’ in country

epa06383075 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands after a news conference following their talks in Cairo, Egypt, 11 December 2017. Putin arrived in Cairo to discuss with his Egyptian counterpart regional and bilateral issues, including the construction of a nuclear power plant and the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt.  EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

Cairo and Moscow will increase efforts to settle the crisis in Libya, Egypt’s presidency said after Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Vladimir Putin spoke on Saturday.

Mr El Sisi, Egypt's president, and his Russian counterpart agreed to “intensify joint efforts and co-ordination between Egypt and Russia to resolve the Libyan crisis” during their call, the presidency said.

Libya’s presidential elections were due to take place on Friday, but polarising candidates, political wrangling and a surge in militia fighting upset the process.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi shake hands during a signing ceremony following their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia October 17, 2018. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS

Western powers have demanded that Libya’s domestic stakeholders quickly set a new date for the vote.

It had been intended to be a new start for the country after the violence and instability that followed a popular uprising 10 years ago.

Russia and Egypt agreed to “counter and undermine armed militias and terrorist organisations and put an end to illegitimate foreign meddling in Libyan affairs”, the statement said.

Libyans celebrate the 70th anniversary of their country's independence despite widespread disappointment over the postponement of the presidential electionsv which had been scheduled to take place on Friday. AP

Egypt has a strategic interest in stability being restored in Libya, with which it shares a porous desert border.

Extremists in eastern Libya have staged deadly attacks on Egyptian security forces and civilians in recent years.

Cairo also has repeatedly stated its concern about Turkey’s military presence in the country and its deployment of foreign fighters to its oil-rich neighbour.

The regional rivals appeared to be on a collision course over Libya in the summer of last year, when Ankara-backed forces and militias were poised to advance on the country’s east.

Updated: December 26th 2021, 3:31 PM