8-14 July: Egypt announces military drill

Jul 16, 2020 | International actors

On 9 July, the Egyptian military said it had carried out a large-scale military drill near the Libyan border called ‘Hasm 2020.’ Egypt’s state information service stated that ‘the exercise aims at eradicating elements of mercenaries, their gathering points, command centres as well as damaging all their logistics.’ The drill included Egypt’s land, maritime and air defence forces and took place over several days. It also involved multi-task aircrafts, including helicopters that use live ammunition.

On 13 July, Turkish Foreign Minister, Melvut Cavusoglu, said in an interview that military preparations had been made to seize Sirte and Jufra airbase if forces linked to commander Khalifa Haftar did not withdraw from both locations. Cavusoglu added, ‘Of course the Government of National Accord (GNA) doesn’t want a ceasefire without [control of] these places, because Haftar is not sincere. He is trying to buy some time while making preparations to attack Misrata and Tripoli. And he doesn’t offer anything meaningful for the political path.’ Cavusoglu ‘vowed’ that the same level of decisiveness would be used in Sirte and Jufra as was used during the GNA offensive on the Tripoli area in May.

On 10 July, House of Representatives (HoR) Speaker Aqeela Saleh met with the acting UN Envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, in Geneva where the two discussed Saleh’s political initiative and the need to intensify efforts to find an inclusive political solution to the Libyan crisis. Both officials also welcomed the (temporary) lifting of the oil blockade, urging that revenue be managed in a transparent and professional manner and calling on foreign actors to stop their ‘negative interferences’ in Libya.

On 8 July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly said to Russia’s Interfax news outlet that it was working with Turkey on an immediate ceasefire agreement for the conflict in Libya. Lavrov added that the Libyan National Army (LNA) was ready to sign an agreement and he hoped that Turkey would manage to convince the GNA to do the same.

On 8 July, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, spoke at a high-level UN Security Council meeting, telling attendees that ‘time is not on our side in Libya.’ Guterres said foreign interference in Libya had reached ‘unprecedented levels’ and called the situation ‘gloomy.’