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UK reconfirms position on arms to Libya, warning situation 'fluid'

UK has ruled out military response to Libyan crisis

Marwan Sultan in London , Saturday 21 Feb 2015
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron gestures while speaking to the Scottish Conservative Party conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, February 20, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

The UK has reiterated its opposition to any military solution to the Libyan crisis, including lifting a weapon embargo.

London hinted that the “fluidity” in Libya is a major reason for its rejection of using military force against militant group the Islamic State, which has found supporters in Libya.

The British government strongly believes that IS “poses a clear national threat to the UK, and a global threat to our international partners and the region.”

It says it is working closely with its allies to drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy IS and what it stands for, adding it is taking a wide range of actions to counter the extremist group.

The British air force and intelligence services are taking a leading role in a US-led international and Arab coalition against IS in Syria and Iraq.

Asked about why Britain rejected the Egyptian suggestion to take the same action against IS militants in Libya, a British Foreign Office spokeswoman told Ahram Online that “the situation in Libya is fluid.”

“Our position still the same as stated by the prime minister (David Cameron)” during his phone conversation with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi last week.

On February, 16 Cameron told EL-Sisi that he recognised that “Egypt, as one of Libya's neighbours, had a particular interest in protecting itself from violent extremism on its borders and that both countries shared the same objective: a safe and secure Libya.”

However, the spokeswoman told Ahram Online that “both agreed that the crisis in Libya must be resolved in the long term through a comprehensive political solution and that Egypt and the UK should work together to support this.”

Egypt has amended its military action suggestion and asked the UN Security Council to lift an arms embargo on Libya to enable to Libyan military to fight the militant group on Libyan soil.

But Britain argues that Libya needs a unified government before any the embargo is lifted.

“The problem is that there isn't a government in Libya that is effective and in control of its territory. There isn't a Libyan military which the international community can effectively support," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

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