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Egypt's ex-FM mulls military action in Libya

Moussa says 'Libya is a major concern for Egypt' amid speculations that Cairo might weigh in militarily into its neighbour's conflict
Amr Moussa chairing of the post-coup Egyptian Constitutional panel in Cairo on November 30, 2013 (AFP)

Egypt's former foreign minister and former secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said on Sunday that Cairo should seriously consider military intervention in neighbouring Libya, citing militant threats.  

"The situation in Libya is a major concern for Egypt, Libya's neighbouring countries, and the Arab world at large," Moussa said in a statement.

"Statelets, sects and extremist factions in Libya directly threaten Egypt's national security. I call for a broad public debate to sensitise public opinion to the risks, and to build the necessary support in case we have to exercise our right to self-defence."

Egyptian officials declined to comment on Moussa's statement, but media reports are speculating on the possibility of an Egyptian intervention.  

"Libya burns, and Egypt approaches a military solution", read the front page of privately-owned al-Masry al-Youm.

The call was also mirrored in Algeria, Libya's western neighbour.

The Algerian Al-Watan newspaper, reported that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is "worried" about threats from militants in Libya, adding that the country is "prepared to wage a war against Jihadists in the region".

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said Monday that up to 10,000 Egyptians fleeing the fighting in Libya are still stranded at the border with Tunisia.

"So far we have evacuated around 2,500... we don't have exact statistics but between 5,000 and 10,000 people" are still waiting to leave, he said.

The development comes amid rumours that Libya's rogue general Khalifa Haftar had fled Libya to Egypt, where he is allegedly is plotting to stage a coup against the government in Tripoli.

The anti-Muslim Brotherhood general on Thursday denied fleeing to Egypt, insisting that he is preparing a major offensive in Libya, but without giving more details.