Libya political deal won't defeat 'terrorism': Egypt FM

AFP , Tuesday 24 Feb 2015

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt said Tuesday a political accord in Libya would not be enough to tackle the jihadist threat in the country, after Western states balked at military intervention following Egyptian air strikes.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry's comment came a day after the internationally recognised parliament in east Libya announced a suspension of its participation in UN-brokered negotiations between Libya's warring rival administrations.

Egypt pressed for global action against the Islamic State jihadists after the group beheaded 21 mostly Egyptian Christians, prompting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to order air raids on February 16.

It dropped the request faced with Western reluctance to military intervention in Libya, where Islamist militias in control of Tripoli are battling forces loyal to the internationally recognised government, also based in the country's east.

Shoukry said Egypt supported the negotiations but they were not enough.

"The approach by several countries, which imagine an accord between politicians will deal with the effects of terrorism, is astonishing," he told a press conference in Cairo.

Shoukry suggested that countries of the US-led coalition against IS in Iraq and Syria were inconsistent when it came to Libya, which borders Egypt.

"Do the Libyan people not deserve the same support as the measures undertaken by the coalition in (Iraq and Syria)?" he added.

The minister renewed Egyptian calls for support of the internationally recognised government, which is under an arms embargo like its Islamist opponents.

"There should be no double standards," foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty later told reporters.

"You are intervening in a serious way against an organisation in one place and completely ignoring them in another," he said of the coalition air strikes on IS in Iraq and Syria.

The United States on Monday renewed its call for dialogue, warning of the high stakes at play.

The international community faces a daunting task to find a political solution to the lawless nation's political and military crisis.

Libya plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed revolution that toppled and killed Moamer Kadhafi, with heavily armed rival militias that had fought the longtime dictator's forces rising to prominence.

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