Libya calls on UN to lift arms embargo

Libya’s foreign minister urged the UN Security Council on Wednesday to lift an arms embargo to allow the country’s military to fight jihadists, amid growing alarm over the threat from the Islamic State group.
Mohammed al-Dairi made the appeal to the 15-member council after Islamic State militants beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, triggering worldwide revulsion and condemnation.
“Libya needs a decisive stance from the international community to help us build our national army’s capacity and this would come through a lifting of the embargo on weapons, so that our army can receive material and weapons, so as to deal with this rampant terrorism,” the foreign minister said.
Dairi stressed he was not seeking an international military intervention, but that there was no time to lose to equip the Libyan army to confront the emboldened extremists.
As Libya pressed for urgent military aid, UN envoy Bernardino Leon said political efforts to broker a deal on forming a unity government able to address the threat from extremists could soon yield results.
“I am hopeful that a political agreement can be reached soon. The differences between the parties are not insurmountable,” Leon said.
Egypt was pushing for a UN resolution easing restrictions on weapons sales to Libya, but Western diplomats expressed reservations, saying a political deal must be the priority.
“While the political solution is an absolute necessity, it is not an alternative to militarily confronting terrorism,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told the council.

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