Arab League ‘understands’ Egypt’s airstrikes in Libya, Qatar raises concerns

The League of Arab States convened for a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday in which its 22-state council issued a statement expressing the pan-Arab organization’s “understanding” of Egypt’s airstrikes on jihadi targets in Eastern Libya Monday morning.

However, Qatar issued reservations concerning Egypt’s airstrikes following the Arab League’s statement.

The statement read as follows, reported by Reuters: “The Arab League’s council expresses its complete understanding regarding the airstrikes launched by the Egyptian Armed Forces against sites belonging to the ISIL terrorist organization in the Libyan town of Derna.” 

The Arab League’s Charter, specifically Articles 5 and 6, stipulate that the use of armed force by member states on other members’ territories is prohibited, except following clearance from the league. 

The statement also condemned the beheading of Egyptian workers at the hands of Libyan-based jihadis, describing it as “a barbaric heinous crime.”

Furthermore, Wednesday’s statement called on the international community to take action against all militant groups in the Arab world and beyond. 

The statement said the Arab League is working to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Libya, whilst calling for the international community to lift its embargo of weapon sales to Libya. 

Members indicated that the lifting of this embargo would assist Libya’s official government in confronting jihadi groups operating from within its territories.

Representatives from Qatar issued reservations regarding the arming of Libya’s government. There are at least two competing governments in Libya: one western-based government, in the capital Tripoli, and another in the eastern town of Tobruk.

According to Egyptian state media, Monday’s airstrikes resulted in the destruction of weapons depots and training camps for jihadis operating from eastern Libya, along with the death of 64 extremist militants, who are reported to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Beyond the League of Arab States, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is seeking a resolution on military intervention in Libya from the United Nations’ Security Council, along with an international coalition to lead coordinated military action against the Libyan-based jihadis.

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