Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on June 20 that any Egyptian intervention in Libya has an international legitimacy and ordered his army to be prepared for missions inside or outside Egypt.
Al-Sisi made his remarks while he was inspecting Egyptian troops in the western region. The president toured an air base near Egypt’s border with Libya, where thousands of troops as well as state of the art weapon systems are deployed.
“Be prepared to carry out any mission, here inside our borders – or if necessary, outside our borders,” the President said in a speech to his troops, according to Reuters.
The Egyptian President said his country is working to protect its western border, support security and stability in Libya and stop the bloodshed there.
Al-Sisi went on to call for a ceasefire between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Government of National Accord (GNA), warning the latter from attacking the port city of Sirte and the al-Jufra Air Base.
“Let’s stop at the line both sides reached in the western and eastern regions and start a ceasefire … The line of Sirte, al-Jufra is a red line for Egypt and its national security,” al-Sisi said.
The President also revealed that Egypt is ready to train, equip and arm Libyan tribesman in order to defend and secure their own land.
Hinting at the growing Turkish intervention in Libya, al-Sisi called on all foreign forces to immediately withdraw, saying that “illegitimate interventions” are spreading terrorism in the region.
In the last few months, Turkey stepped up its support for the GNA enabling it to secure major gains in northwest Libya. In response, the Egyptian military amassed a large force on the Libyan border. Since then, battles have winded down in Libya, especially around Sirte.
Egypt appears to be determined to stop Turkish expansion in Libya. Nevertheless, Cairo will not likely employ a direct military intervention option before exhausting all diplomatic options.