The diplomatic efforts of the Libyan transitional government contrast with the stagnation of the country's new institutions. So far, successive summits sponsored by the international community have proved incapable of establishing a period of stability in Libya, which is still marked by the presence of foreign fighters and mercenaries.
Despite the protracted stalemate, the incumbent Libyan government continues to rally support for its cause. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday reaffirmed his support for Libya's National Unity Government (GNU) after receiving acting foreign minister Najla Mangoush in Cairo.
The foreign policy representative visited the Egyptian capital on Saturday for a bilateral meeting with the country's leader and his counterpart Sameh Soukry, with the aim of coordinating joint efforts in favour of the transitional process in Libya.
"Egypt stands firm with Libya's interim government to maintain peace and stability in the North African country," Al-Sisi said in a statement issued by presidential spokesman Bassam Rady. The Egyptian leader stressed that the restoration of Libyan sovereignty begins with the withdrawal of foreign forces.
For his part, Soukry confirmed Egypt's support for the Presidential Council until 24 December, when the political transition is due to be completed with the holding of elections. The Egyptian foreign minister praised the resolutions issued by the UN Security Council and the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).
During a joint press conference, Egypt's foreign policy chief called for Libya's territorial integrity and added his voice to demands for the immediate withdrawal of foreign fighters from the North African country.
Mangoush welcomed Cairo's "sincere efforts" to restore institutional normality in Libya and its mediation efforts in the conflict. The minister also welcomed the reopening of the Egyptian consulates in Tripoli and Benghazi.
"Beyond any diplomatic compliments, Egypt and Libya are connected through a very long historical relationship, neighbourliness and common culture," said the acting Libyan minister during the appearance.
Ties between Cairo and Tripoli have been strengthened, in part, by the three Memoranda of Understanding for economic development signed in April during the visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbuli and 11 of his ministers to the Libyan capital.
Moreover, the arrival in Tripoli this week of the head of Egyptian intelligence services, Abbas Kamel, is further evidence of the close ties between Libya's new interim government and the Egyptian authorities.
During Saturday's meeting, Soukry and Mangoush discussed the terms of the second Berlin Conference scheduled for 23 June. The German capital will host the talks on Wednesday for the second time in order to clear the way for a democratic transition in Libya.
During the first meeting, held in January 2020, a series of commitments to resolve the political chaos in Libya emerged. However, the current context is ostensibly different from the first Berlin forum.
Libya took over in March the new institutions created 'ad hoc' for the implementation of the political transition. Members of the UN Security Council gave the green light to the Interim Presidency Council and the Interim Government of National Unity 'as the entities charged with leading Libya towards the national elections on 24 December'.
The breakthrough left behind years of armed confrontation between rival factions in the east, led by commander Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA) supported by the UAE, Jordan and Egypt, and in the west, led by Fayez al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognised by the UN, Turkey and Qatar.
In parallel to the Berlin talks, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum will meet in Tunis from 28 June for a new round of talks under the auspices of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), with the aim of clearing the way for the elections.
"As of today, there has been no withdrawal of mercenaries, no withdrawal of foreign fighters, but plans for withdrawal are being prepared, especially by the Libyan Joint Military Commission," warned UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya Georgette Gagnon.
The interference of foreign mercenaries hinders real progress in the North African country. The UN counts a total of 20,000 fighters sent by Russia, through the Wagner Group, and Turkey. For this reason, the Libyan military leadership is preparing a forceful response to expel foreign mercenaries from the country, Gagnon revealed.
Meanwhile, the prime minister on Sunday attended the reopening of the road connecting the coastal towns of Sirte and Misrata, which had been closed for two years because of the conflict. Dbeiba stressed that the resumption of activities is key to the life of the population and called for unity.
At the wheel of a bulldozer, Dbeiba himself removed one of the mounds of sand blocking the road at the last checkpoint on the western side. However, eastern faction media denied that the road had been reopened. In any case, the road was supposed to have been reopened last September, when the ceasefire was agreed.
The prime minister's appearance followed the Presidential Council's ban on unauthorised military movements in the country. The institutional decision was preceded by the seizure of a border post with Algeria by forces led by General Haftar.
They launched a military operation on Thursday to "track down takfiri terrorists", according to the LNA itself. The Presidential Council sent its own troops to the south in response to Haftar's action, setting off tensions between the parties.