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Home » Libya » Joint Communique on Libya

March 2013 

libya and Egypt Map

Libya and Egypt are to open consulates just across the joint border – a Libyan one in Mersa Matruh and an Egyptian one in Tobruk – in a move that is hoped will ease traffic and visa issues between the two countries. The announcement was made today, Thursday, in Cairo by the Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan. He arrived last night, Wednesday, in the Egyptian capital for discussions with his Egyptian counterpart, Hisham Qandil, on relations between the two countries.

The move should make it easier for locals on both sides of the border to obtain visas to cross and visit relatives on the other side.

“We are both working on making things easier,” said Qandil at a press conference after the meeting.

There was chaos for several days on the border when a number of Egyptians from Sollum and the surrounding area blockaded it in protest at new Libyan rules under which all Egyptians are now required to obtain visas to enter Libya.

The protestors were mainly from the Awlad Ali tribe which is found on both sides of the border. During the Qaddafi era, members of the tribe were allowed into Libya without restrictions.

At his press conference last Thursday, the Prime Minister said that non-Libyan nationals of the same tribe in neighbouring states would have to have visas to enter Libya. He was referring to Awlad Ali, half of whom live on the Libyan side of the frontier and the other half in Egypt.

Interior minister Ashour Shuwail announced on 23 February that the government had decided that all Egyptians entering Libya had to have a visa.

The decision had already been put into effect when the border was reopened on 19 February after the five-day closure by the Libyan government because of concerns about security during the second anniversary celebrations of the 17 February Revolution.

The change resulted in Egyptian Awlad Ali tribe blockading the crossing at Musaid, stopping cargo trucks and passengers. At the height of the crisis, an estimated 8,000 vehicles were said to have been prevented from crossing the frontier.

The crossing was finally reopened last Monday after mediation with tribal elders on both sides of the border.

The decision also sparked anti-Libya protests in the Egyptian town of Mersa Matruh with some residents raising the green flag and renaming one of the streets after the “martyr Muammar Qaddafi”. They claimed that, as Arabs, they should be allowed to enter Libya freely without any restrictions.

Ali Zeidan, who is accompanied on the visit to Egypt by Deputy Interior Minister Omar Khadrawi and Libyan intelligence chief Salem Hassi, also said that he had discussed with the Egyptian premier a number of issues related to the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

He also raised the issues of Qaddafi loyalists in Egypt, and Libyan frozen investments there. In regard to the latter, he said that the Egyptian government had not made a decision to release them as yet. “We have to apply to a committee to release those assets,” he said. “We will ask the Egyptian authorities to cooperate with us in that regard.”

Source: Libya Herald 

Categories: News, Press

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