Libya's UN ambassador said Wednesday his country will hold off asking nations including the United States and Britain to intervene with airstrikes against the growing presence of the Islamic State group in the oil-rich north African nation as a new national unity government tries to establish itself
Ibrahim Dabbashi told The Associated Press he would rather see a UN arms embargo loosened so his country can defend itself against ISIS instead.
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He spoke shortly before the Security Council unanimously endorsed a UN-brokered deal to form a unity government that Libya's rival factions signed last week. The resolution also asks countries to help Libya defeat ISIS.
The international community has pressed for Libya's two rival governments to come together to stabilize the oil-rich north African country. The new agreement calls for a national unity government to be formed within 30 days, but challenges remain. The speakers of the rival governments' parliaments have rejected the deal, and multiple militias remain active in the country.
Security Council members on Wednesday urged Libyans to come together behind the deal announced last week, which the UN calls the best chance to pull the country together. The new resolution stresses that the national unity government is the "sole legitimate government of Libya," and asks countries to "cease support to and official contact with" others who claim to be the legitimate authority but are not part of the new deal.
Source of migrants
Aside from the presence of ISIS just across the Mediterranean from Europe, Libya also has been the source of thousands of migrants trying to cross the sea to Europe, often with fatal results.
Italy has offered to lead an international peacekeeping mission in Libya, if the new national unity government requests it.
Dabbashi, who also mentioned interest in having France, Britain and the United States intervene against the Islamic State group, said any such request will be left to the new government.
"No one can predict that we will ask for that at any time," he said.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said the United States will work closely with the new government "to eliminate" ISIS affiliates in Libya.
The international community also would require an invitation from Libya's government to expand efforts against migrant smuggling operations into Libya's territorial waters.