ALGIERS: British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond rejected international military action in Libya on Thursday and said the crisis-hit country needed a political solution.
“We don’t believe that military action can solve the problem in Libya,” Hammond said at a joint press conference in Algiers with Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra.
“The Algerian position and the British position are identical… we believe in an inclusive political solution in Libya,” Hammond said.
Western powers this week dismissed calls from Egypt for international military action after Cairo launched air strikes on jihadists from the Islamic State group in its neighbour who beheaded a group of Egyptian Christians.
Egypt later instead asked for the lifting of a UN arms embargo on Libya’s internationally recognised government so it could tackle the jihadists, which the Security Council is reported to be considering.
Wary of committing to action in Libya — where a NATO air campaign backed the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi — Western powers have pushed instead for political talks on forming a government of national unity.
Lamamra also rejected a military solution, saying “an escalation by providing arms” would not be conducive to talks.
“As neighbours of Libya we want to be a big part of the solution and in no way part of the problem,” he said.
Libya has descended into chaos since the 2011 revolt, with the internationally recognised government forced to flee to the country’s east and militias in control of Tripoli and other main cities.
Libya has two rival governments and parliaments, one recognised by the international community and the other with ties to Islamists.