EU calls for joint action on Libya
MADRID - The European Union said Monday it will meet with the Egyptian and US governments this week to discuss joint action on Libya, but saw no EU role in any military intervention for now.
In the wake of a mass killing of Egyptian Christians in Libya, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said she would hold talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
"We will meet in Washington later this week to define possibilities of action when it comes to the Libyan crisis," Mogherini told a news conference in Madrid.
The jihadist Islamic State (IS) group posted a video on Sunday showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians by its members in Libya.
On Monday Egypt retaliated with air strikes in Libya against IS, which is sometimes referred to as Daesh.
"What we are seeing today in Libya is a double threat: it is a threat of a country that is breaking apart and of a country where Daesh is taking power and infiltrating," Mogherini said.
IS holds swathes of Syria and Iraq and EU leaders fear it may extend its reach closer to Europe.
The killings raised pressure for new international intervention in Libya.
UN-sanctioned military operations headed up by France and Britain led to the toppling of Libya's former dictator Moamer Gathafi in 2011.
Italian ministers had aired the possibility of leading a UN-backed force to stabilise Libya and stop Islamic militants setting up a base there within reach of Europe. But Italy later ruled such an intervention in the short term.
"It is not for today to consider any contribution of the European Union to any sort of military action," Mogherini told a news conference with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo.
She said she was open to discussing possible EU "support" for UN-approved and "Libyan-led" efforts to stabilise the country and see off the threat of IS.
"Daesh is a threat to the entire country, to all Libyans and that will require a joint action to face the threat in Libya," she said.