Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- A Libyan diplomatic source has revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that that the official in charge of provisions and supplies in the Libyan Army, abruptly left Cairo for Libya last Thursday after a quick 24-hour visit.
According to the source which spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, the Libyan envoy Maj. Gen Abdul-Rahman al-Sid met with members of the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces, but not with Field Marshal Tantawi, chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who assumed power in Egypt after the fall of the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak. The source added: “The Egyptian officials handed the Libyan envoy a written message in a closed envelope, and he immediately left Cairo for home along with Ali Marya, the Libyan ambassador to Cairo. It appears that the Libyan envoy’s mission was not successful.” It is not clear whether Field Marshal Tantawi’s failure to meet with the Libyan envoy was a political stance expressing his rejection of the way Gaddafi is dealing with the Libyan people, or because he had other urgent engagements. Also, no official statement was made on the talks held by Gaddafi’s envoy, who is the highest ranking Libyan official to visit Cairo since the eruption of the popular protests against Gaddafi’s regime on 17 February.
Libyan oppositionists and dissidents told Asharq Al-Awsat that Colonel Gaddafi sought to persuade the Egyptian authorities to supply his forces with weapons and ammunition to make up for shortages faced by his forces, which have been waging fierce battles in various Libyan cities for three weeks against revolutionaries. They pointed out that Gaddafi also sought to persuade the Egyptian authorities to control the Egyptian-Libyan border region and prevent oppositionists in the eastern region of Libya from acquiring any types of supplies.
Sources close to the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Egyptian Army turned down a request by Gaddafi to assist him militarily in the war he is launching against his opponents. They however declined to clarify the type and nature of the assistance he requested. These sources said: “The Egyptians told Gaddafi’s envoy that Egypt was not a party to what is happening in Libya on the grounds that current developments in Libya are domestic affairs.” These sources pointed out that they were familiar with the thinking of the Egyptian Army commands, and that they will not allow involving the armed forces in any dispute beyond the Egyptian border.
The Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces has only casually commented on current developments in Libya, announcing that it put up camps in the border region with Libya to shelter and help returnees from Libya.
An official in the Libyan opposition Transitional National Council said that the council is aware that the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces has no desire to take a tougher stand against Gaddafi’s regime because of fear of the possibility of the Libyan regime taking punitive measures against thousands of Egyptian workers in Libya.
It is to be recalled that the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed forces had earlier refrained from criticizing a statement by Saif-al-Islam Gaddafi, the second son of Colonel Gaddafi, in which he accused Egypt of involvement of what he described as a malicious conspiracy against his country. However, former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Ghayt denounced Saif-al-Islam’s statement, regarding it as provocative and offensive.