Greater Middle East (bbabo.net) - Dialogue between Egypt and Turkey to normalize relations has ground to a halt as Turkish policy in conflict-torn Libya remains unchanged. This, according to Al-Ahram, was announced on October 30 by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri.
Cairo and Ankara held two rounds of exploratory talks last year, led by Egyptian and Turkish deputy foreign ministers, in an attempt to mend interstate ties. The split between the two countries dates back to the 2013 overthrow of the late Egyptian President of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi, who was supported by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The two preliminary meetings provided an opportunity to express our concerns about the situation in the region. This track has not resumed as there are no changes regarding Turkey's actions in Libya,” Shukri said.
The crisis in Libya, with which Egypt borders to the west, has further strained relations between the two countries, as Turkey transferred thousands of Syrian fighters to the conflict zone, and also continued to support the “Government of National Unity” (GNU) led by Abdel Hamid Dbeiba.
The situation escalated in early October after the Tripoli-based "government" signed a series of preliminary economic agreements with Turkey that could include offshore hydrocarbon exploration. Egypt contends that the GNU's mandate has expired and is not authorized to sign such deals. Cairo's announcement follows a vote of no confidence in the government by the Libyan parliament in September 2021 following the GNU's failure to hold elections in December 2021 and the parliament's appointment of Fathi Bashagi as prime minister in February 2022.
However, the Dbeiba administration, set up in February 2021 as part of a UN-led peace process, has so far prevented Bashaga from taking office. Shukri noted that this situation violates the UN-brokered Skhirat Agreement, which defines the powers and duration of the Libyan interim government. Thus, according to the head of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, the principle of respect for the legislative institution is violated. This issue, according to Shukri, further complicates the situation in Libya and makes it difficult to reach a common agreement between the Libyan parties to hold the long-awaited elections.
“If we want to have an international system based on rules, these rules must be observed impartially,” he said, adding that “these rules must apply when it comes to any region, any conflict or any political situation.”
Shukri also lamented that the international community had not taken any "tough" action to secure the withdrawal of foreign troops from Libya. Libya plunged into chaos after the ouster and assassination of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 in a Western-backed uprising as numerous armed groups backed by outside forces tried to fill the power vacuum.