An Egyptian delegation travelled to Libya on Saturday after increasing tensions between Egypt and Libya.
The Al-Gabha Al-Democratiya political party received an invitation to celebrate the first anniversary of the foundation of the Libyan National Forces Alliance.
A party official said the invitation’s timing was perfect as the party was about to send an official delegation to Libya to discuss the situation of Egyptian citizens in the country and the recent attack on a Coptic Church.
The Free Egyptians Party condemned the attack against the church, carried out by a group it described as “extremist Libyans”.
Egypt’s largest opposition group, the National Salvation Front (NSF), also released a statement on Saturday condemning assaults on Egyptian workers in Libya. The opposition bloc said the repeated attacks have become “concerning” in the past few weeks and include assault on Egyptian churches and arrests of Egyptian citizens.
Four Egyptian Copts were arrested at a Libyan checkpoint on Friday.
Following protests outside the Libyan Embassy in Cairo, the Libyan Embassy suspended work in Cairo indefinitely on Saturday.
Pope Tawadros met the Libyan Ambassador Ashour Hamed Binrashed. Binrashed said the decision to close down the embassy was a precautionary measure, state-run Ahram reported. Binrashed added that the embassy will resume operations soon.
He added that those behind the recent attack on the church are being pursued.
The NSF affirmed its appreciation of Egypt’s historic and special relationship with Libya and the Libyan people. It also called on the Libyan authorities accept their responsibilities and defend the rights and property of Egyptians to preserve bilateral relations.
Libya is host to an estimated 2 million Egyptians. Both the Free Egyptians Party and the NSF denounced the Egyptian government’s reaction to the recent problems in Libya, especially in comparison with the regime’s reaction to the arrests of dozens of Egyptians believed to be members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UAE.
“While the presidency and government were quick to move and send high level delegations to the demand the release of arrested Egyptians in the UAE… it has neglected and ignored the conditions of Egyptians who were assaulted in Libya,” the NSF said.
The Free Egyptians Party described this as a double standard and called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to increase its efforts in protecting Egyptians in Libya.
Abuses against Egyptians in Libya have been frequently reported over the past couple of weeks, particularly against Egyptian Copts. Many believe that Ezzat Atallah was tortured to death by Libyan authorities while being investigated on charges of proselytizing.