Egyptian Amb.: 'Egypt Considers Itself to Be the Bulwark Against Extremists'
Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Mohamed Tawfik spoke to Eric Shawn on "America's News Headquarters" about the fight against radical Islamic terrorists and their spreading ideology.
Tawfik said it's a "global battle," in which we must deal with terrorists militarily, but also with their ideology, financing, ability to recruit and messaging. He said that Egypt is on the front line on all those battles.
Tawfik agreed with comments that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi made in January, in which he said that the change must come from the imams, from within the religion of Islam itself.
"This is something that we can do. You cannot do [it], you can help us. Really, this is up to us and we are going to do it," Tawfik said.
How can the U.S. help? Shawn asked.
"You can provide us with the necessary weapons we need in fighting these people," Tawfik said, asserting that the Libyan government is denied the weapons it needs to effectively battle the terrorists.
"If you start early on, it is easy to control ISIS. If you wait until it's too late, until they have roots deeply in place, until they have training camps, until they control a large part of the country, then it's already too late," Tawfik stated.
He added that the time to act in Libya is right now, before ISIS grows stronger there. He said that the Libyan people are up to the challenge, but they need the assistance and support of the international community.
"We do not need airstrikes from the international community right now," Tawfik said. "They need weapons and they need training and they need them today."
"We are determined to confront these people. We are not going to allow them to take control over our region. Egypt considers itself to be the bulwark against these extremists, and we take our role seriously."
Watch the full interview above.