By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 6 May 2017:
Italy’s foreign minister has again insisted he remains supportive of the Presidency Council and its acting administration during a visit to Tripoli for talks with an array of Libyan leaders.
Despite this, Angelino Alfano told Faiez Serraj that dialogue had to reassure Libyans that the goal was to finally implement the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).
“Only inclusive and Libyan-owned dialogue, within the LPA, can advance reconciliation and consolidate effective institutions,” Alfano insisted.
These efforts could only be aided by bolstering Libya’s stability, although both sides noted that the security situation in Tripoli had improved to a certain degree recently.
Unsurprisingly, the Italian delegation, which included its ambassador Guiseppe Perrone, was keen to discuss illegal migration concerns. Recent cooperation agreements signed in Rome were put under the spotlight,
This included equipping and training the Libyan coastguard to confront migration and smuggling. However, Serraj and Alfano also looked at strengthening Libya’s porous southern borders with the introduction of electronic systems that could track smugglers better.
Italy brokered a deal in Rome last month that seeks to set up units to patrol the southern borders. Those involved in the deal included representatives from the Tebu, Tuareg and Awlad Sulaiman communities.
With Italy becoming the first country to reopen its Tripoli embassy in January, Serraj also said he was grateful for the help of Alfano and his government in aiding Libya’s path forward.
Alfano insisted he was “proud of the Italian Embassy and of its hard work, as the only European presence currently in Tripoli.”
Before the meeting with Serraj, Alfano also saw PC deputy Ahmed Maetig, with whom the Italians have an especially close relationship. The Italian foreign minster also pressed Maetig on the migrant theme saying “we trust Libya to effectively work with us in the fight versus human smuggling”.
The Alfano-Maetig meeting also focused on the prospects of economic cooperation between the two countries. It is hoped these would help create jobs and improve production in Libya’s municipalities, a PC statement said.
Mohamed Siala, the PC foreign minister, was present for both discussions but held his own separate meeting with Alfano too.
An Italian statement said Siala told Alfano that “Libya needs Italy’s key role to overcome this critical phase”.
Rounding off his trip, the Italian foreign minister held talks with State Council president Abdulrahmen Sewehli who commented later that it was “great to meet Italy FM”.
They discussed bilateral relations with Sewehli thanking Alfano’s “strong support for LPA parties to achieve peace in Libya”.
Sewehli also called on all military parties to remove themselves from political affairs and work to prevent further fighting. He said the Rome meeting, where the State Council head met with House of Representatives chief Ageela Saleh, had led to a significant political breakthrough.