Egypt's Sisi orders army to be ready for missions abroad amid tensions over Libya
Cairo, June 20 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered his army on Saturday to be ready to undertake any mission inside or outside the country to protect its national security in the face of tensions over Turkey's intervention in the neighboring country Protect Libya.
Turkey supports the internationally recognized government of the National Agreement (GNA) in Tripoli, which with Turkish support has reversed a 14-month attack by Khalifa Haftar's eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) on the capital.
The LNA is supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Sisi traveled to an air force base near Egypt's 1,200-kilometer western border with Libya on Saturday, where state television showed him watching fighter jets and helicopters take off.
"Be ready to carry out any mission here within our borders - or, if necessary, outside our borders," he said to several Air Force pilots and special forces at the base.
He said the Egyptian army was "one of the strongest in the region". "It is a rational army; an army that protects and does not threaten ... that is our strategy, our beliefs and our principles, which we will never change."
Earlier this month, Egypt called for an armistice in Libya as part of an initiative that also proposed an elected leadership council for the country.
The United States, Russia and the UAE welcomed the plan. Germany said talks supported by the United States are the key to the peace process.
However, Turkey rejected the proposal as an attempt to save Haftar after the losses on the battlefield. (Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Omar Fahmy; editing by Jan Harvey)
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