Washington: Libyan officials intensified their appeal this week for international help to confront a growing extremist threat, but Western countries’ insistence that Libya must first end political feuds underscores their reticence to wade back into this North African nation.

On Friday, Daesh militants claimed responsibility for a series of bombing that killed at least 35 people in the eastern city of Qubba. The attacks were a worrying sign in a country that, despite the violence that has characterized the aftermath of the 2011 uprising to oust Muammar Gaddafi, has not suffered the large, indiscriminate bombings that were once common in Iraq.

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammad Dayri, who was in Washington this week for the White House’s summit on countering violent extremism, said in an interview that Western nations cannot wait on the sidelines while militants expand their activities across the country.

“Libya is not part of any international strategy to fight terrorism,” said Dayri, who represents Libya’s internationally recognized government, one of two claiming legitimacy. “We need something urgently.”

Friday’s attacks were only the latest sign of Libya’s deterioration over the past year as the intensification of conflict between an array of militias, armed gangs and, now, the rival governments have pushed the dreams of the 2011 revolution further out of reach.

International concern about Libya peaked this week when Daesh fighters were shown executing 21 Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach, raising fears that the militant group based in Iraq and Syria could expand across North Africa.

Brian Katulis, a former US official who served on a United Nations panel of experts on Libya in 2013-2014, said Libya’s descent took place as countries that had supported the uprising struggled to provide enough assistance to help the country take its first successful steps. Over time, he said, security and political challenges grew larger, requiring even more outside help.

“That’s the Catch-22 of Libya today,” said Katulis, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress. “The situation is so bad that the country requires outside help, but significant outside help is less likely to be found now because the situation is so bad.”

That reticence was on display this week at the United Nations, where Dayri’s government asked the United Nations to end an arms embargo and called for international assistance to build up Libya’s military.

Dayri’s appeals is complicated by the fact that his prime minister, Abdullah Al Thinni, heads one of the two governments claiming legitimacy in Libya. Al Thinni’s government controls much of eastern Libya, while another government, which is more sympathetic to Islamist causes, is headed by Omar Al Hassi in the west.

Western nations, including the United States, France, Britain and Libya’s former colonial power, Italy, this week condemned the executions but also called the UN talks “the best hope” for combating violence.

For the Obama administration, the decision to prioritize political settlement is reminiscent of Iraq, where last year officials waited until Iraqis formed a national unity government before launching air strikes against Daesh.

US officials are hoping that UN envoy Bernadino Leon, who has held a series of talks aimed at forming a national unity government in Libya, will be able to nudge the two sides closer to an agreement in talks next week in Morocco.

While American officials share Libyans’ alarm about the possible Daesh expansion, they believe that no outside aid can be effective until there is a single government in place.

“It would be a bad idea to take the pressure off Libyans to come together themselves against terrorists on the premise that outsiders could do a better job,” a US official said on condition of anonymity.

“Outsiders may be able to help,” the official said, “but they are likely to be much more effective in supporting Libyans . . . who are participating in a unity government rather than attacking one another in an ongoing civil war.”