TRIPOLI

Libya’s High Council of State on Monday warned the Egyptian army against a high-stakes military gamble in the conflict-ridden country.

The warning came two days after Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi suggested that Cairo could launch “external military missions” into Libya “if required,” urging his army to be ready for a mission “if necessary outside our borders.”

“We urge the Egyptian army not to be dragged into a gamble, whose fate will be similar to previous gambles like the case in Yemen,” the Libyan council said in a statement.

In the 1960s, Egypt sent troops to Yemen to support a revolution against the rule of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom, which evolved into a civil war between those loyal to the kingdom and republican government loyalists.

Though the war ended with a Republican victory, Saudi Arabia exhausted Egypt’s army by supporting the kingdom, which resulted in Egypt losing the 1967 Three-Day War to Israel, say historians

The council blasted al-Sisi’s call for training and arming Libyan tribesmen as “an attempt to fuel sedition and turn Libyans against each other.”

“Libya is an independent and sovereign state, and it is the duty of Libya’s legitimate government to extend its control over the entire Libyan territory,” it said.

The council went on to decry the support of Aguila Saleh, speaker of eastern Libya-based parliament, for al-Sisi’s statements about military intervention in Libya.

“The Egyptian intervention in Libya has been ongoing for the past six years in a disruptive manner, seriously aggravating the security, political, economic, and social situation” in Libya, the council said.

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

The government launched Operation Peace Storm against Haftar in March to counter attacks on the capital, Tripoli, and recently liberated strategic locations, including Tarhuna, Haftar’s final stronghold in western Libya.

It has condemned military support from Egypt, the UAE, France and Russia for Haftar’s attacks on Tripoli, which began in April 2019.

*Nour Abdullah contributed to this report from Ankara

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