BERLIN

Germany on Tuesday criticized Egypt over its plans to militarily intervene in neighboring Libya.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas voiced Berlin’s concern during a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias after their meeting in Athens.

“Decisions on military deployments cannot be welcomed, as they always bring the danger of further escalation,” Maas said, adding that German government has long been trying to de-escalate tensions in Libya, through talks with Libyan parties and regional actors.

Maas recalled that the conflict parties were seeking to control provinces of Sirte and Al-Jufra, and argued for creating “demilitarized zones” around these provinces to prevent further escalation of the conflict.

He also called on the Libyan parties to return to 5+5 format talks for a sustainable cease-fire which can pave the way for a political settlement.

Egypt’s parliament on Monday approved a proposal authorizing military intervention in neighboring Libya, a month after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi threatened military intervention over Sirte and Al-Jufra.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country’s new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces, backed by Egypt and the UAE.

The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority as Tripoli battles Haftar’s militias.

The government launched Operation Peace Storm against Haftar in March to counter attacks on the capital Tripoli, and liberated strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and city of Tarhuna.

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