Fri, Feb 20, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Libya asks UN to lift arms ban to fight IS group

AP, UNITED NATIONS

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi on Wednesday demanded that the UN Security Council lift an arms embargo so his country can fight the Islamic State (IS) group as it establishes a presence in north Africa and moves closer to Europe.

Al-Dairi spoke to an emergency session of the council amid regional alarm after the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant over the weekend posted a video of the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.

Al-Dairi said that Libya is not asking for international intervention, but the world community has a “legal and moral responsibility to lend urgent support” and that the region, including the Mediterranean, is in danger.

“If we fail to have arms provided to us, this can only play into the hands of extremists,” he said.

He told reporters he wanted to see the same attention paid the danger in Libya as has been paid to Iraq and Syria, where a US-led coalition is battling the Islamic State group.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called for a naval blockade on arms heading to areas of Libya outside the control of “legitimate authorities.”

He did not rule out troops on the ground in Libya and said his country was seeking international support “by all means.”

Jordan was circulating a draft resolution on the issue to fellow council members later on Wednesday. Aside from the call to lift the arms embargo, the draft resolution also calls on militias to withdraw from Tripoli to allow the return of the “legitimate government,” and it condemns any attempt to supply arms to non-state actors.

Meanwhile, Qatar yesterday recalled its ambassador to Egypt “for consultation” following a row over Cairo’s airstrikes on jihadist targets in Libya, Qatari state media said.

A foreign ministry official said Doha was recalling its envoy over a statement made by Egypt’s delegate to the Arab League, Tariq Adel, the QNA state news agency said.

Adel accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism,” according to Egyptian media and the al-Jazeera news channel, after Doha’s representative expressed reservations over a clause in a communique welcoming Cairo’s airstrikes on Islamic State targets.

The communique was released at the end of an ambassador-level Arab League meeting in Cairo.

Ties between Doha and Cairo have been strained over Qatar’s support for ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

Qatar’s director of Arab affairs in the foreign ministry, Saad bin Ali al-Mohannadi, said Doha had expressed reservations over welcoming the raids, stressing the need for “consultations before any unilateral military action against another member state.”

Additional reporting by AFP

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