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Cairo hosts an AU meeting to legitimize Haftar’s offensive without inviting Morocco

Heading the African Union, Egypt is trying to play a role in the Libyan crisis. On Tuesday, April 23, Cairo hosted a meeting to legitimize Khalifa Haftar’s offensive, without inviting Morocco, which has a different opinion on the Libyan crisis.

An African Union meeting in Egupt on the Libyan crisis. / Ph. DR
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Morocco was not invited by Egypt to take part in an African Union meeting, held Tuesday in Cairo. The conference focused, mainly, on the situation in Libya, a country of the continental organization.

Officially, only members of the African Union troika, composed of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sissi, Rwandan head of state Paul Kagame and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, are entitled to take part in the meeting alongside Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who was appointed by the African Summit to resolve the Libyan crisis, and Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.

However, Cairo preferred to broaden the list of attendees, inviting Chadian President Idriss Déby and his Djiboutian and Somalian counterparts, namely Ismail Omar Guellah and Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, respectively.

The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Ugandan Foreign Minister and his Kenyan and Nigerian counterparts.

Legitimizing Haftar’s offensive

The Cairo meeting was followed by a final communiqué in which participants called for «allowing the army to fulfill its duty to preserve the unity and sovereignty of the Libyan territory, put an end to chaos and militias and fight against terrorism». The same statement gave credence to the «arguments» presented by Khalifa Haftar to justify his attack on Tripoli and other parts of the country.

The communiqué also put Haftar and the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez Al-Sarraj on equal footing, calling on them to «respect civilians and facilitate access to humanitarian aid».

The signatories of the Cairo declaration refrained from mentioning the Skhirat Agreement, signed on December 17, 2015. However, they invited the parties to «maintain political negotiations on the basis of the Libyan political agreement». Since the Skhirat meeting, several meetings have taken place, notably in Paris in May 2018 and in Abu Dhabi on February 28, 2019.

Meanwhile, Morocco has a different opinion on the Libyan crisis. Rabat sees Haftar’s troops as «forces» and not as a «Libyan National Army».

For the record, on April 17 in Rabat and after a meeting with an envoy of Fayez Al-Sarraj, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that «Morocco is following with great concern the situation in Libya, mainly in the light of the military escalation at the entrance of the capital Tripoli, the consequences that may ensue in terms of human tragedies and its impact on the stability in this Maghreb country».

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