Egypt's FM Sameh Shoukry in security council (Photo:AP)
Libya and Egypt asked the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to lift an arms embargo on Libya and help it build the army so it can tackle Islamic State and other extremist groups.
Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Dayri addressed the council after UN special envoy Bernardino Leon told the group that Islamic State and other militants in Libya can only be defeated with a united government in place that has strong international support.
"Libya needs a decisive stance from the international community to help us build or national army's capacity and this would come through a lifting of the embargo on weapons so our army can receive materiel and weapons so as to deal with this rampant terrorism," Dayri said.
The Libyan government is allowed to import weapons and related materiel with the approval a UN Security Council committee that oversees an arms embargo imposed in 2011.
Libya has descended into factional fighting, leaving the country almost lawless nearly four years after Muammar Gaddafi's fall. Two competing governments backed by militia brigades are scrambling for control.
The United Nations is mediating between the rival factions in a bid to get them to forge a unity government and end hostilities.
Egypt directly intervened in coordination with the Libyan government for the first time in the conflict in its western neighbor on Monday after Islamic State released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri backed Libya's call for the arms embargo to be lifted.
Shoukri also called for "concrete measures to prevent the acquisition of arms by all non-state militias and entities through the imposition of a naval blockade on arms heading to areas of Libya outside the control of the legitimate authorities."
Italy called for urgent international action to halt Libya's slide into chaos, and pledged it was ready to help monitor a ceasefire and train local armed forces.
"In Libya, Islamic State has found fertile ground in the growing post revolution political instability, capitalizing also on the weakness of state institutions and state security sector," special envoy Leon said.
"Defeating terrorism in Libya can only be achieved through the political and institutional determination of a united Libyan government, which will need the strong and unequivocal support from the international community in confronting the myriad challenges facing Libya," Leon said.