?The UN Security Council was due to meet Wednesday to discuss the situation in Libya, with Egypt demanding action after 21 of its citizens were beheaded by militants in the north African country.

United Nations
UNITED NATIONS

 

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi Tuesday said that there was “no other choice” but to face the Islamic State jihadist group just as forcefully in Libya as in Iraq and Syria, but any intervention would have to be agreed with the Libyan government.

Egyptian warplanes earlier this week struck the militant stronghold of Derna in eastern Libya in retaliation for the killing of the 21 Christian migrant workers.

Al-Sissi has also called for support for Libya’s internationally recognized government, which is locked in a struggle with rival, Islamist-leaning authorities who control the capital Tripoli.

The US and EU have been backing a UN-brokered dialogue process between the two sides, although UN envoy Bernardino Leon Tuesday warned that “all options are on the table” if the talks fail.

In Italy – the former colonial power – Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni rejected the possibility of an outside intervention while the civil war was still raging. “The only solution to the Libyan crisis is a political one,” Gentiloni said.

Once a deal is struck, he said, Italy was “ready to contribute to the monitoring of a ceasefire, to maintaining peace, to restoring infrastructure, to military training in the context of integrating militias in the regular army, to curing and healing the wounds of war.”

Italy, the nearest major EU state and main buyer of Libyan oil, has voiced concern about instability in the country, and even vented the possibility of leading a military mission under a UN mandate.

“We call on the international community to multiply political-diplomatic efforts to stabilize Libya, and we finally see that at least the awareness of the seriousness of the crisis is growing,” said Gentiloni, who was speaking in parliament.

GNA

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