“Our support for the LNA will not stop, and our support for Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar does not come at the expense of our relationship with the head of the Government of National Accord, Faez al-Sarraj. Cairo supports a political solution,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told foreign and local reporters on Nov. 8, 2017.
But the relationship between the GNA and the Egyptian regime started to become lukewarm after the LNA announced a military battle against militias loyal to the GNA in an effort to control the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on April 4. Cairo vocally supported the LNA's military actions in Tripoli, and the Egyptian president received Haftar, the LNA commander-in-chief, several times in Cairo after the battle and announced his support for him without any meetings or diplomatic contacts taking place between the Egyptian regime and the LNA.
These lukewarm relations between Egypt and the GNA degenerated further after Turkey's declared military support for the GNA in the Tripoli battle. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced in June that “Turkey is providing weapons to the Tripoli government, which is necessary to restore the balance in the war against Haftar.” The Turkish intervention in the Tripoli battle led to the defeat and withdrawal of the LNA from the city of Gharyan in June. It also led the GNA to control the city, which prompted Haftar to declare war on the Turkish invasion of Libyan territory.
The losses Turkey inflicted on the LNA prompted the Egyptian regime to support its most prominent ally, the LNA, as the Egyptian Foreign Ministry officially attacked the armed militias and called for their disbanding and fighting, saying they are forces fighting under the GNA.
Hani Khallaf, a former Egyptian deputy foreign minister, told Al-Monitor that “Turkey's declaration that it is sending weapons to the GNA to fight the LNA has strained relations between the GNA and Egypt.”
“Egypt must reopen the channels of communication with the GNA in order to reach out to all Libyan parties, but the GNA also needs to act with good intentions and stop supporting extremist armed militias because Cairo cannot stand the presence of militias in an Arab sister state,” he added.