CAIRO – Egypt and the Libyan unity government on Thursday signed a series of cooperation agreements and several infrastructure contracts as Cairo considers reconstruction opportunities in its oil-rich neighbor.
While Libya’s political outlook remains uncertain, the accords are the latest sign of Egypt’s efforts to re-engage with Tripoli after years of siding with conflicting eastern Libya-based forces. who divided the country.
Libya was a major market for Egyptian businesses and workers before the uprisings in both countries in 2011.
The 14 memoranda of understanding, signed during Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s visit to Cairo, cover sectors ranging from industry and hydrocarbons to agriculture, communications and civil aviation, according to a cabinet statement. Egyptian.
Project contracts signed between the Libyan government and major Egyptian companies include a ring road around the Libyan capital Tripoli, another road leading south to Jalu from the eastern city of Ajdabiya, and the construction and supply of two factories to gas.
No details were given on the value of the contracts.
Earlier, Dbeibah met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who affirmed Egypt’s desire for stability in Libya and offered his support to help the country hold national elections scheduled for the end of the year. , according to a press release from the Egyptian presidency.
Sisi “underlined the importance of the upcoming Libyan elections for the respect and activation of the free will of the … Libyan people”, according to a press release from the presidency.
During his meeting with Dbeibah, Sisi also rejected all forms of “foreign interference” in Libya, the statement added, in an implicit rebuke of Turkey’s military support for the Tripoli-based government of national unity.
On Tuesday, Sisi received Khalifa Haftar, the military commander based in eastern Libya, as well as Aguila Saleh, the head of a parliament based in the east.
Both are seen as key players in the United Nations-backed plan to hold elections by the end of the year. Sisi called on them and Dbeibah to respect the electoral calendar, two Egyptian intelligence sources said.
Egypt will face competition from Turkey for commercial contracts in western Libya, a regional rival that has intervened militarily to help repel Haftar’s forces but is now trying to reconnect with Cairo .
The war-scarred neighbor of Egypt is trying to extricate itself from a decade of unrest after the 2011 overthrow of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi after a NATO-backed uprising.
In recent years, the country has been divided between rival administrations backed by foreign powers.
An interim government was put in place earlier this year to lead Libya towards legislative and presidential elections on December 24.
Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh last week ratified a law governing presidential elections.