Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has given his support to a transitional government that would lead neighboring Libya through elections later this year.
In rare televised comments late Saturday, el-Sissi said the appointment of the interim government Thursday, which includes a three-member Presidential Council and a prime minister, was “a step in the right direction.”
“We are supportive of them. … We are ready to cooperate with them for Libya’s recovery and to prepare for the elections in Libya,” el-Sissi said.
According to the Egyptian leader, his threat last year to send troops to Libya helped “start a genuine period for peace” in the oil-rich country.
“We are keen that each move … aims to build peace, prosperity and maintain stability in a region that has been suffered in the past 20 years a very great shock,” he said.
The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, which includes 75 U.N.-picked delegates from across the country, appointed Mohammad Younes Menfi, a Libyan diplomat from the country’s east, as chairman of the Presidential Council. The forum also chose Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah, a powerful businessman from the western city of Misrata, as prime minister.
The appointment of an interim government has been seen as a major — if uncertain — step toward unifying the North African nation.
Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gadhafi. The country has been divided since 2015 between two governments, one in the east and one in the west, with each backed by an array of militias and foreign governments.