Border between Egypt, Libya may reopen soon

Published August 28th, 2015 - 06:54 GMT

The governor of Egypt's Marsa Matrouh governorate met with Libya's interior minister on Wednesday to discuss the final proceedings for reopening the border between the two countries, Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The border was closed following the disappearance of Libyan security forces on 15 August. The reason for their disappearance is still unknown.

Marsa Matrouh's governor, Alaa Abou Zeid, met with Libya's interior minister, Mustafa El-Dabbash, as well as other Libyan authorities responsible for the Musaid border crossing, to discuss the concerns of both sides regarding re-opening the crossing.

The discussion also included assurances from both sides to facilitate safe passage across the borders for citizens from the two countries.

Tariq Kharaz, a spokesperson from the interior ministry of the internationally recognized Libyan government, based in Tobruk in the east of the country, said that the Libyan forces protecting Musaid border crossing have withdrawn due to "some problems" which were not specified, Reuters reported.  

Kharaz added that another force is now manning the border but declined to mention why the regular troops had left their positions.

Abou Zeid said yesterday before the meeting that Egyptian forces are keeping the borders secure on their own side and that the Libyan borders are also safe, according to Ahram Arabic news website.

El-Dabbash said during the meeting that there is a strong bond between both nations and made the assurance that Egyptians in the country receive the same level of protection as Libyans.

He also confirmed that the eastern part of Libya, including the de facto capital Tobruk, which is 150 kilometers from the Egyptian border, is safe.

The Egyptian-Libyan border is 1,000 kilometers long and has been a major threat to Egyptian security over recent years as it has been used for smuggling weapons and militants to Egypt.

Musaid is the main border crossing to Egypt and is approximately 240 kilomters from Marsa Matrouh and 150 kilomtres from Tobruk.

Following the ouster of long-time autocrat Muammar Gaddafi, various Libyan militias have been fighting the central government in a civil war that has ravaged the country.

Anti-government rebels control the capital Tripoli in the west.

By Karim Abdel Kodos

© Copyright Al-Ahram Publishing House

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