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- UNHCR Update Libya (17 January 2020)
TRIPOLI, Feb. 26 — The growing threat posed by the Islamic State Takfiri terrorists and other militant groups could turn Libya into another Syria, Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Dayri says.
Dayri made the comments while calling for Western military support during a Tuesday interview with AFP published on Wednesday.
“Without a political solution, the country could get trapped in a full-blown civil war like in Syria,” he said.
Libya fell into turmoil during the struggle between rival governments and militias which followed the ousting of long-time dictator Moamer Khadafi in 2011.
“Time is running out,” he said. “Terrorism amounts to a danger not just for Libya and its neighbors. It is an intensifying threat to Europe.”
The North African country has two parliaments competing for legitimacy in different parts of the country. Tripoli, the capital city, is currently under the control of militias, while the internationally-recognized government resides in the eastern city of Tobruk.
The foreign minister, from the Tobruk government, stressed that his government is not requesting Western military intervention but only for “the reinforcement of the Libyan army’s capabilities.”
“The creation of a national unity government is a priority for Libya, not just an international demand,” Dayri said. “But even if we achieved that tomorrow, we would still need help with our army.”
He added that so far there has been no conclusive response from Europe and the United States.
Last week, Dayri’s call on the UN Security Council to remove an arms embargo, which has been in place since 2011, met with resistance over concerns the weapons may end up in the wrong hands.
Dayri also censured the rival Tripoli government for failing to sufficiently condemn terrorism, although he made it clear that his government would return to peace negotiations.
“Our essential condition for forming a government of national unity is that all sides engage in combating terrorism,” he said.
On February 15, ISIL released a video purportedly showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by the terrorist group. It showed the handcuffed hostages dressed in orange jumpsuits kneeling down along the seashore near Tripoli.
The IS had earlier published the photos of the 21 Egyptian workers, claiming that the pictures were taken moments before their decapitation.
The militant group, which controls parts of territory in Syria and Iraq, has been carrying out similar acts of terror such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities in the two neighboring Arab countries.