Egypt may opt for ‘political solution’ in Libya at UNSC

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Egypt may back down from requesting international intervention to counter the Islamic State in Libya after major Western powers stressed the necessity for a “political solution” in the country, according to international media reports on Wednesday.

In response to a recent request by Egypt, the governments of major European countries and the United States confirmed in a joint statement on Tuesday the need for a “political solution” in Libya, without referring to the possibility of military intervention during the upcoming period.

The United States, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain said that the formation of a national unity government constitutes the best solution for the Libyans.

Egyptian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Egypt was aware of international alliances, adding that a draft resolution which will be presented to the Security Council on Wednesday afternoon may not include a call for international action in Libya.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to allow international military intervention in Libya, where Egypt launched air strikes this week targeting Islamic State.

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday that Egypt will demand a resolution at the UN Security Council to lift the arms embargo on the internationally recognised Libyan government based in Tobruk.

The ministry’s statement did not say whether or not Egypt was willing to request international intervention in Libya.

Egypt directed its attention to the Libyan crisis this week after Islamic State militants beheaded 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians in Libya.

The video released on Sunday night showed the beheading of the 21 Egyptian workers in a mass execution similar to that of previous videos depicting the murder of hostages captured by Islamic State. The killings prompted a high-level emergency meeting of Egypt’s National Defence Council.

In response, Egyptian warplanes struck Islamic State hideouts in Libya on Monday shortly after Al-Sisi vowed revenge for the killing of the Egyptian hostages.

Egypt considers the presence of Islamic State in neighbouring Libya a direct threat to its national security, especially after Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, Sinai’s most active terrorist organisation, swore allegiance to the terrorist organisation last year.