Egypt announced Monday that it will hold a meeting with four European Mediterranean countries about developments in neighbouring Libya after Turkey began deploying troops in the war-torn North African nation.
The talks – to be held in Cairo on Wednesday- will bring together foreign ministers from France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, Egypt’s foreign ministry said.
The ministers will tackle the “rapid developments” in Libya and “ways to push efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement” between rival administrations there, a statement said.
Libya has seen an escalation of the turmoil that has gripped the oil-rich country since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Gathafi in 2011.
Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia back strongman general Khalifa Haftar, who launched an offensive in April to capture Tripoli from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that soldiers had begun deploying to Libya to shore up the GNA following its request for military support.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Aide Moataz Zahran and other Egyptian officials met on Sunday with US ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen and a number of European ambassadors to discuss Turkey’s move.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry contacted the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the German foreign policy adviser and the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy of the European Union.
“During these contacts, rejection of Turkey’s escalation in Libya was outlined, and the need to operationalize all possible mechanisms to prevent intervention in Libya as a contravention of international law, and to strive to maintain the chances of reaching a political solution via the Berlin process was affirmed,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Cairo considers a military intervention in Libya a “matter of Egyptian national security” and has vowed to quash efforts seeking “to control” over its neighbour.
It has also slammed maritime and military deals signed between Ankara and Tripoli in November as “illegitimate”.
Relations between Egypt and Turkey have been strained since general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, whom Ankara supported.