IS expansion in Libya prompts Cairo talks between foreign ministers

Ahram Online , Wednesday 19 Aug 2015

Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister meeting with his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Al-Dairi in Washington over crisis in Libya Friday Feb. 20, 2014 (Photo: Foreign Ministry)

Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry will meet with his Libyan counterpart in Cairo Wednesday to address the latest security developments in Egypt’s chaos-torn western neighbour. The meeting comes amidst expansion by the Islamic state group in Libya.

Fighters loyal to the Islamic State  in Syria and Iraq have advanced in the North African country, gaining ground in cities like Sirte in the west and Derna to the east.

The two rival governments now in power in Libya have both recently carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State in Sirte, but with limited military capabilities.

The official government has called on fellow Arab states to conduct air strikes against the militant group in the city.

Shoukry and Libyan foreign minister Sameh Al-Dairi will also discuss calls by the internationally recognised government to raise the arms embargo that was imposed on Libya by the UN in 2011, state news agency MENA reported.

In a phone conversation between both leaders earlier this week, Shoukry said Egypt will "redouble efforts to ensure international backing of the legitimate Libyan government and to uphold the Security Council's decision to provide necessary support and security assistance to the government."

Two resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in March maintained the 2011 arms embargo while emphasizing "the importance of providing support and assistance to the government of Libya, including by providing it with the necessary security and capacity building assistance."

Libya has descended into chaos four years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, with two rival governments backed by militia brigades battling for control of the oil-rich country.

The official government has been based in eastern Libya since losing control of the capital Tripoli a year ago to an alliance of armed groups that declared their own administration. The Islamic State and other armed groups have expanded in the growing security vacuum.

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