Libyans need to fight Islamic State, not each other, French defense minister says

November 22, 2015 13:47

PARIS - Libya's main armed factions will be committing suicide unless they stop fighting each other and take on Islamic State's growing presence in the North African country, France's defense minister said on Sunday.

Islamic State militants have tightened their grip on central Libya and carried out summary executions, beheadings and amputations, the United Nations said last week, in a further illustration of the country's descent into anarchy.

"Libya preoccupies me very much," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio, nine days after Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris.

Libya has slipped deeper into chaos with two rival governments, each backed by a multitude of armed factions, which has allowed Islamic State jihadists to gain a foothold. They also control larger areas of Iraq and Syria.

"Daesh (Islamic State) is in Libya because it can exploit the internal rivalries ... If we reunite these forces, Daesh will cease to exist," Le Drian said.

Le Drian called for a international summit bringing together neighboring countries as soon as possible to get some kind of political agreement in Libya.

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