The UN Security Council will meet Wednesday to discuss the situation in Libya after the apparent IS execution of 21 Egyptian Christians, with Egypt’s foreign minister in attendance, diplomats said Tuesday.
The meeting follows the release of a videotape by the Islamic State group purportedly showing the mass beheading in Libya. Egypt launched retaliatory air strikes against IS targets in Libya on Monday.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in New York where he will also hold bilateral meetings with Security Council members and Arab representatives, diplomats said.
Egypt has asked the UN Security Council to provide a mandate for an international intervention in Libya, where fighting among rival militias has thrust the country into chaos.
France and Italy also called for a Security Council meeting to decide on “new measures” in Libya.
The meeting was scheduled for 3:00 pm (2000 GMT) Wednesday and was to be followed by closed-door consultations.
Shoukry will lay out the situation in public before the council, Britain’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Peter Wilson told reporters.
Asked about the Egyptian demand for an intervention, Wilson said, “We are waiting to see what Foreign Minister Shoukry has to say.”
While supporting the Egyptian request, Arab diplomats at the United Nations said they thought it would also require a formal request by the Libyan government.
But Libya currently has two governments and two rival parliaments, one close to the Fajr Libya coalition and the other recognized by the international community and based in Tobruk.
An intervention “requires a lot of Europeans to come in, it requires a UN blessing and it requires also a letter from the Libyan government saying that it will allow troops to get in,” Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, said.
“Without that, the UN cannot move.”
UN diplomats said they expected no decisions on Wednesday, or even a council statement at the end of the meeting.
Russia and China have been notoriously reluctant to support interventions under a UN banner. Moscow accused the United Nations of overstepping its role when it adopted resolutions that led to the international military operation that helped oust Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.