Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Al Qablawi has criticised a recent statement by Egypt's Abdel Fattah el Sisi as "blatant interference in Libyan internal affairs."

Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government prepare themselves before heading to Sirte, in Tripoli, Libya, July 6, 2020.
Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government prepare themselves before heading to Sirte, in Tripoli, Libya, July 6, 2020. (Reuters)

Libya has condemned the president of Egypt for recent comments suggesting Cairo could arm Libyan tribes against the internationally recognised government.

Speaking to Al Jazeera TV, Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Al Qablawi criticised a recent statement by Egypt's Abdel Fattah el Sisi as "blatant interference in Libyan internal affairs."

"Sisi's talk is a repeat of his previous statements, which is a blatant interference in Libyan affairs," he said, adding that Sisi's speech was "not aimed at peace as he said, but it is he who is fuelling the [Libyan] conflict."

Sisi met on Thursday with the heads of Libyan tribes in the Egyptian capital Cairo, where he threatened that Egypt "will not stand aside" in the face increasing military mobilisation near the city of Sirte in the north of Libya.

READ MORE: Foreign interference in Libya reaching 'unprecedented levels' – UN

High Council condemns Sisi's call

The Libyan High Council of State condemned Sisi's call to arm the Libyan tribes, saying it would lead to more fighting and division in the country.

In June, Sisi suggested that Cairo could launch "external military missions" into Libya, saying "any direct intervention in Libya has already become legitimate internationally."

Sisi said the city of Sirte and the al Jufra air base were their "red line," calling on his army to "be prepared to carry out any domestic or cross-border missions.

Since April 2019, warlord Khalifa Haftar's illegitimate forces have launched attacks on the Libyan capital of Tripoli and other parts of northwestern Libya, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, including civilian women and children.

However, the Libyan government has recently achieved significant victories, pushing Haftar's forces out of Tripoli and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

US senior diplomat complains Europe not doing enough

Europe can do more in Libya by designating Russian military contractor Wagner Group and calling out Moscow and other countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Egypt that are violating a UN arms embargo, a senior US diplomat said on Thursday.

Europeans are "proud" about their naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea, carried out to help enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, but their maritime interdictions have been limited to Turkey, David Schenker, assistant secretary for Near East Affairs at the State Department, told a virtual think-tank event.

"The only interdictions that they (EU) are doing is of Turkish military material that they're sending to Libya. Nobody is interdicting Russian aircraft, nobody is interdicting Emirati aircraft, nobody is interdicting the Egyptians," Schenker said.

"They could at least, if they were serious, I think, call them out - call out all parties of the conflict when they violate the arms embargo," he said.

Washington has increasingly voiced concern about the heavy involvement of Russian mercenaries as well as other external powers and has called for de-escalation, but fighting has persisted.

A UN report in May said Russian private military contractor Wagner Group has up to 1,200 people deployed in Libya, strengthening Haftar's forces.

"There is a lot more that they (Europe) could do. They could, for example, designate the Wagner Group. ... If they aren't going to take out a more robust role, then this thing is going to drag on," Schenker said. 

READ MORE: Russia, Egypt accused of providing weapons to Libya's warlord Haftar 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies