West Calls for Ceasefire, Egypt Doesn’t Mention BDB Advance

Mar 7, 2017 | International actors

On 6 March, the Egyptian National Committee on Libya issued a statement calling on Libyan parties to continue with political negotiations brokered by Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia. This regional troika recently established a framework under which a joint committee with representatives from the Government of National Accord (GNA), the House of Representatives (HoR) and High Council of State (HCS) would be formed to agree amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). However, Egypt made no mention of the ongoing oil crescent conflict sparked by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) advance on the Libyan National Army (LNA) on 3 March. This is surprising given the developments are so significant and that it has actively supported Haftar’s offensives against the BDB previously.

UN envoy Martin Kobler has called on “all parties to refrain from further escalation and ensure the protection of civilians and Libya’s oil facilities”. On 6 March, the Ambassadors of the US, UK and France issued a joint statement strongly condemning the escalation of violence and calling for an immediate ceasefire. They called on “all parties to cease provocative actions against National Oil Corporation (NOC) employees,” and stated that “the NOC must remain under the sole stewardship of the GNA.”

On 6 March, a delegation from the British Conservative Party visited both House of Representatives’ (HoR) president Ageela Saleh in Tobruq and Khalifa Haftar at his military base in Marj. On 6 March, a delegation from the Dutch Foreign Ministry visited GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj in Tripoli. The Austrian Ambassador to Libya also met with Serraj.

On 2 March, Serraj and a delegation of Libyan officials, including some HoR members, visited Moscow for talks with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and a number of top Russian officials, including Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. The two sides agreed to form a joint committee called the Libyan Russian Business Council, to restart stalled Russian projects.