Libya must unite against IS: UN envoy

The IS group has built a stronghold in Sirte, a city 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of Tripoli.

AFP| Last Updated: May 31, 2016, 17:26 PM IST

Libya must unite against IS: UN envoy

Paris: The UN`s special envoy on Libya called Tuesday on all the country`s armed groups to unite against the Islamic State (IS) group. 

"The fight against Daesh, which is the number one enemy, must be a Libyan fight and a united fight," said Martin Kobler, using an Arabic acronym for IS, after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris.

He said the rival administrations that have established themselves since the fall of long-time dictator Moamer Khadafi in 2011 should "unite their efforts" into a single army.

"A national Libyan army must be put in place," agreed Ayrault, while accepting that this was still "a long way off". 

The IS group has built a stronghold in Sirte, a city 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of Tripoli.

Kobler and Ayrault reaffirmed their support for the UN-backed unity government set up in the capital two months ago. 

The unity government has military assets and the backing of key economic institutions, but is vehemently opposed by a rival administration in the east, which controls several militias and parts of the national army loyal to controversial General Khalifa Haftar.