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Egypt to train, arm Libyan armed forces

At Cairo press conference, Egypt and Libyan House of Representatives confirm plans for future coordination
Egyptian and Libyan foreign ministers at a joint press conference in Cairo (AA)

Egypt has promised to supply Libya with military equipment, training and consultation, according to officials from Libya's House of Representatives.

Politicians from the House of Representatives, whose political rival the General National Congress reconvened on Monday, thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his “unlimited support for Libya" at a joint press conference in Cairo.

Aqila Salih, elected head of the House of Representatives, told reporters that “Egyptian support will begin with securing the borders and preventing extremists from crossing.”

“There is no fear that Libya will be partitioned.”

However, Egypt strongly denied any previous intervention in Libya.

Egypt’s foreign minister, Samih Shukri, stressed that Egypt is “not involved in any military action, and nor does it have any military presence in Libya.”

The conference comes a day after US officials told the New York Times that Egypt and the UAE launched two undercover airstrikes in Tripoli.

Responding directly to Monday’s report of joint airstrikes including Egyptian planes in Libya, Shukri said: “I have not read this statement…everything mentioned in the media, with all due respect, lacks authenticity.”

However, while Egypt denied any previous involvement, Libya’s chief of staff Abdel Razouk al-Nazuri said that Egypt has now “promised support and the provision of military equipment for the Libyan army.”

Egyptian and Libyan co-ordination on the growing crisis has seemingly been happening for weeks.

According to Libya’s foreign minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz, who also spoke at the Cairo conference, Libya asked “weeks ago” for Egyptian assistance in easing the passage for injured Libyans over the border.

The politicians from the House of Representatives, elected back in June, also stressed that they did not accept the Tripoli-based General National Congress.

“Statements from the European Union and the African Union have all acknowledged the legitimacy of the Libyan House of Representatives”, said Abdel Aziz.

Speaking from Libya shortly after the conference, head of the General National Congress Nouri Abusahmain refuted the legitimacy of the House of Representatives:

"Power is for the only legitimate body: the General National Congress."

He also cast doubt on Egypt's denial of any previous intervention, saying that "it is impossible to confirm or deny the Egyptian intervention."

"Unfortunately, all our efforts to speak to [Egypt] have failed."