Egypt to reopen embassy in Libya

Cairo's embassy and consulate in Libya have been closed since 2014

Women talk with policemen on January 25, 2014 in front of the Egyptian embassy, where Egypt's cultural attache and three other embassy staff were seized by kidnappers in Tripoli, Libya. The early morning abduction came a day after the seizure of an embassy administrative adviser from his home in the capital and despite Libya's announcement of "reinforced security measures" around the Egyptian embassy.  AFP PHOTO MAHMUD TURKIA (Photo by MAHMUD TURKIA / AFP)
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Egypt is planning to reopen its embassy in Libya's capital for the first time in six years in a shift to a more conciliatory approach to factions in west Libya.

The planned reopening, which a visiting Egyptian delegation discussed in Tripoli on Monday and Tuesday, coincides with a new interim government to be formed in the latest UN-brokered effort to unite rival administrations in east and west Libya.

Egypt is one of the most prominent backers of eastern-based military commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army waged a campaign to take control of Tripoli that crumbled in June last year.

Egypt considered Field Marshal Haftar to be the best option for securing its border with Libya.

It also supported his opposition to Islamist groups and Muslim Brotherhood influence in Libya.

During its visit to Tripoli the Egyptian delegation met the foreign and interior ministers of the departing government, which is aligned with military factions that fought Field Marshal Haftar.

The delegation discussed logistical arrangements for re-establishing Egypt's diplomatic presence through its embassy in Tripoli and its consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, an Egyptian diplomatic source said.

The move is a first step to enhanced political, economic and security co-operation with authorities in Tripoli, Egyptian intelligence sources said.

Egypt closed its Tripoli embassy in 2014, the year when many foreign missions in the capital shut down during an intensifying conflict that led to rival governments being set up in Tripoli and Tobruk, eastern Libya.

Turkey, a regional rival of Egypt and military backer of west Libyan factions, reopened its embassy in the Libyan capital in 2017.