The international community’s loss of interest in Libya after the fall of former ruler Muammar Qaddafi created the vacuum that allowed ISIS “to get strong,” its ambassador to the United Nations told Fox News Tuesday, following the release of an ISIS video in which 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded on Libyan beaches.
Ibrahim Dabbashi also expressed skepticism that the international community has the will to militarily get involved again in Libya.
His country has yet to request international military support to fight the Islamic State, as Iraq did in the U.N. Security Council.
But in the meantime, the “most important thing right now is to lift the arms embargo on Libya so that the national army has the means to battle Daesh (the Arabic name for ISIS/Islamic State),” Dabbashi told Fox News.
The ambassador’s comments came a day after Egypt's president said in a radio interview that creating a U.N.-backed coalition was the best course of action to rid Libya of Islamic extremists.
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, speaking to France's Europe 1 Radio, said Egyptian airstrikes against Islamic State group positions in Libya on Monday were in self-defense.
"We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children," he said. Asked whether he wanted to see a U.N.-backed coalition for Libya, he said: "I think there is no choice."
Dabbashi said Tuesday that Libya would not be against receiving help to battle ISIS.
“In principle, we would not be against international help in crushing Daesh, but we must have the arms to not only be able to fight the terrorists, but need to be able to destroy them if they try to re-establish in our country,” he told Fox News.
Libya’s foreign minister will be in New York Tuesday for talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who arrived yesterday, as Egypt works to obtain U.N. Security Council authorization for international intervention in Libya.
Shoukry is holding talks today at the U.N. with each of the Security Council’s Permanent 5 members, to impress on them the need for U.N. backing of Egypt’s initiative. Shoukry also is meeting with the Arab Group, which comprises nearly two dozen Arab countries that are members of the U.N., to try to set a unified position on combating ISIS in Libya and the Arab world.
Jordan, the Arab Group’s representative on the Security Council, has requested a meeting of the council on Wednesday.
As the intelligence community reviews the 5-minute beheading video, more evidence is emerging that it directly coordinated with the mother organization ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The video was released by al-Hayat media, which is the designated media arm for ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Also, two days before it hit the Internet, ISIS’ online magazine published two photos of the men being paraded on the beach, in images reviewed by Fox News.
On Monday, el-Sissi, a general-turned-politician, told the French station that “we have to disarm and prevent arms from falling into the hands of extremists."
We have abandoned the Libyan people as prisoners of the militias ... The militias have to give up their arms and must work in a civil context,” he said.
The Egyptian airstrikes against ISIS drew harsh criticism from Omar al-Hassi, the militia-supported prime minister in the capital, Tripoli. Libya's elected and internationally recognized parliament and government were forced to convene outside Tripoli when the capital was overrun by Islamic and tribal militias last year. An older parliament, supported by the militias, declared itself legitimate and formed a rival government with al-Hassi at the head.
"This treacherous aggression and the terrorism carried out by the Egyptian Air Force is a violation of Libyan sovereignty and a scandalous violation of the U.N. charter and international law," said al-Hassi, who accused the Egyptians of attacking Libya "without any solid proof" that they were actually striking the militants responsible for killing the Egyptian Christians.
El-Sissi spoke with France's president and Italy's prime minister about Libya on Monday.
France, a lead player in the campaign to oust Libya's dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, has campaigned for months for some kind of international action in Libya, and announced a deal Monday to sell 24 advanced fighter jets to Egypt. French troops are already in place near Libya's southern border in Niger as part of a counterterrorism force.
French President Francois Hollande's office said he and el-Sissi both "stressed the importance of the Security Council meetings and that the international community takes new measures to confront this danger."
Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti, meanwhile, said in an interview published Sunday in the Il Messaggero daily that her country is ready "for geographic, economic and historic reasons" to lead a coalition of European and North African countries to stop the militants' advance in a country less than 500 miles from Italy's southern tip.
A NATO official who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with NATO practice said, "there is no discussion within NATO on taking military action in Libya."
The official added that NATO stands ready, "to support Libya with advice on defense and security institution-building."
In a separate development, flights between Morocco and Libya have been suspended because of what Rabat officials said was poor security measures at Libyan airports.
Fox News’ Jonathan Wachtel, Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.