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Britain Rejects Foreign Military Intervention in Libya

  • VOA News

FILE - British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

FILE - British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

Britain on Thursday rejected sending international forces to Libya and lifting an arms embargo on the North African nation, a day after an emergency United Nations Security Council session on escalating violence in the country.

Speaking during an official visit to Algeria, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond called for a political solution in neighboring Libya where militants claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group publicized the killings of 21 Egyptians earlier this week.

Cairo appealed for foreign intervention after its own air raid Monday on militant targets there.

Jordan circulated a draft U.N. Security Council resolution late Wednesday that would lift an arms embargo against the Libyan government, work toward halting the flow of weapons to militants and push for Libya's internationally recognized government to return to the capital in Tripoli.

U.N. mediation has failed to negotiate peace between militias and two parallel governments, which have left the country in a persistent state of instability following the 2011 ouster of leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi stressed Libya is not asking for international military intervention.

"Libya needs a decisive stance from the international community to help us build our national arms capacity, and this would come through the lifting of the arms embargo on weapons so that our army can receive material and weapons so they can deal with this rampant terrorism," he said.

The U.N.'s special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, spoke to the U.N. Security Council by teleconference, saying that addressing the political crisis remains the most important priority.

"The savage terrorist acts highlight once again the imminent danger confronting Libya, its people and the wider region unless there is a swift agreement among the main parties in the country of resolving the political crisis and bringing an end to the military and political conflict," he said.

Libya has been under an arms embargo since 2011. The internationally recognized government now operating out of Tobruk has been able to petition a U.N. committee to ask that certain weapons sales be approved, but there remain fears that weapons could end up in the hands of the many militant groups in Libya if the embargo is lifted.

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