Italian FM reassures Serraj after Hafter visit to Rome
By Vanessa Tomassini.
Milan, 28 September 2017:
Italian foreign minister Angelino Alfano was again in Tripoli today, this time to reassure Faiz Serraj and the Presidency Council (PC) of the Italian government’s continued support. It follows the visit to Rome this week of Khalifa Hafter at the invitation of the Italian government. It raised fears in Tripoli that Italy was changing policy over Libya, and had resulted in Serraj demanding an explanation from the Italian ambassador.
According to the Italian foregn ministry, Alfano went to Tripoli to stress Italian support for the action plan to promote political dialogue in the country unveiled last week in New York by UN special envoy Ghassan Salamé.
Alfano is also said to have confirmed to Serraj that there was no place for a military solution to the Libyan crisis. The welcome given Hafter, he explained, was simply part of Italy’s desire to speak to all sides and to see Libya united.
Today’s talks also covered efforts to end human trafficking, illegal migration and fuel smuggling across the Mediterranean as well training and equipping Libyan forces so as to secure Libya’s southern borders.
The meeting was attended by the PC’s foreign minister Mohamed Siala.
Alfano, who was last in Tripoli in May, also had separate meetings with State Council president Abdulrahman Sewehli and PC deputy leader Ahmed Maetig.