Egypt’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi held talks with Libya’s new rulers in Tripoli on Monday about security issues and the situation of Egyptian migrant workers in the country.
The brief trip marked Tantawi’s first state visit since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which he heads took over following the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak in February last year after an 18-day popular revolt.
Tantawi met the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, and Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib for talks which lasted for several hours at a Tripoli hotel.
“Field Marshal Tantawi, on behalf of the Egyptian people and government, wants to congratulate Libyans for the success of their revolution and to activate the relationship between us and Egypt,” Kib told reporters.
“Our meeting was conducted with friendship and we agreed on a better relationship based on respect and in the interest of both peoples,” he said, adding that the focus was on security and Egyptian workers in Libya.
He said an agreement was reached on the workers, hundreds of thousands of whom worked in Libya before the conflict that toppled former Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in October last year.
“In the area of security in general, we agreed on the continuation of our collaboration, especially on borders,” added Kib.
Despite tight security, a group of 10 Libyan protesters managed to enter the hotel where the meeting took place with placards demanding that Cairo return to Libya former Kadhafi regime figures who had fled to Egypt.
“I personally raised this issue and asked the Field Marshal to help us protect our country… from those that affect our two peoples,” said Kib, adding that “this issue will take time.”