Egypt’s Sisi Expresses Support to Interim Libya Govt

Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters file photo)
Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters file photo)
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Egypt’s Sisi Expresses Support to Interim Libya Govt

Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters file photo)
Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters file photo)

Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has given his support to a transitional government that would lead neighboring Libya through elections late this year.

In televised comments late Saturday, Sisi said the appointment of the interim government Friday, which includes a three-member Presidential Council and a prime minister, was “a step in the right direction.”

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, which includes 75 UN-picked delegates from across the country, appointed Mohammad Younes Menfi, a Libyan diplomat from the country’s east, as chairman of the Presidential Council. The forum also chose Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah, a powerful businessman from the western city of Misrata, as prime minister.

The three council members each represent a region of old Libya: Tripolitania in the west, Cyrenaica in the east, and Fezzan in the southwest. The country’s divided parliament is tasked with confirming the new government within three weeks. If it fails to do so, the forum will confirm.

The appointment of an interim government caps months of UN-brokered talks that resulted in an agreement to hold elections Dec. 24.

“We are supportive of them. … We are ready to cooperate with them for Libya’s recovery and to prepare for the elections in Libya,” Sisi said.

The Egyptian leader said his threat last year to send troops to Libya helped “start a genuine period for peace” in the oil-rich country. Egypt views the instability in neighboring Libya as a national security threat.

In June, Sisi called Libya’s strategic coastal city of Sirte a “red line” and warned that any attack by Turkey-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) forces on the city would prompt Egypt to intervene to protect its western border.

Sirte, which sits near Libya’s main oil-export terminals and fields, has been held by forces of Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar, who runs most of Libya’s eastern and southern regions.

The appointment of an interim government has been seen as a major — if uncertain — step toward unifying the North African nation.

US Ambassador Richard Norland on Saturday urged Dbeibah, the prime minister-elect, to “identify a small, competent, technocratic Cabinet team that can quickly be granted confidence” by the east Libya-based parliament.

An interim government would face towering challenges, including deteriorating living conditions and a surge in coronavirus cases.

The oil-rich country, with around 7 million people, has reported more than 124,000 cases, including 1,953 fatalities. However, the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher, in part due to limited testing.

Other challenges include the dismantling of numerous heavily armed local militias and the presence of at least 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters who had fought in the fight for Tripoli.



US Military Targets Houthi Radar Sites in Yemen

In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
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US Military Targets Houthi Radar Sites in Yemen

In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)
In this photo provided by the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond to shoot down a missile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP)

The United States military unleashed a wave of attacks targeting radar sites operated by Yemen's Houthi militants over their assaults on shipping in the crucial Red Sea corridor, authorities said Saturday, after one merchant sailor went missing following an earlier Houthi strike on a ship.
The attacks come as the US Navy faces the most intense combat it has seen since World War II in trying to counter the Houthi campaign — attacks the militants say are meant to halt the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.
However, the Iranian-backed group assaults often see the Houthis target ships and sailors who have nothing to do with the war while traffic remains halved through a corridor vital for cargo and energy shipments between Asia, Europe and the Mideast.
US strikes destroyed seven radars within Houthi-controlled territory, the military's Central Command said. It did not elaborate on how the sites were destroyed and did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.
“These radars allow the Houthis to target maritime vessels and endanger commercial shipping,” Central Command said in a statement.
The US separately destroyed two bomb-laden drone boats in the Red Sea, as well as a drone launched by the Houthis over the waterway, it said.
The Houthis, who have held Yemen's capital, Sanaa, since 2014, did not acknowledge the strikes, nor any military losses. That's been typical since the US began launching airstrikes targeting the group.
Meanwhile, Central Command said one commercial sailor from the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk cargo carrier Tutor remained missing after an attack Wednesday by the Houthis that used a bomb-carrying drone boat to strike the vessel.
“The crew abandoned ship and were rescued by USS Philippine Sea and partner forces,” Central Command said. The “Tutor remains in the Red Sea and is slowly taking on water.”
The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killed three sailors, seized one vessel and sunk another since November, according to the US Maritime Administration.
The war in the Gaza Strip has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians there, according to Gaza health officials, while hundreds of others have been killed in Israeli operations in the West Bank. It began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.
“The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third-country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza,” Central Command said. “The ongoing threat to international commerce caused by the Houthis in fact makes it harder to deliver badly needed assistance to the people of Yemen as well as Gaza.”