By Sami Zaptia.
London, 28 June 2020:
During his visit to Rome yesterday, Faiez Serraj, Libya’s internationally recognized prime minister, agreed with his Italian counterpart, Giuseppe Conti, ‘‘to form a committee to follow up on the return of Italian companies to resume their activities in Libya’’.
The move comes on the back of the ending of the siege of Tripoli by the Khalifa Hafter aligned forces earlier this month and on the back of the increased, if not leading, role now being taken by Turkey in Libya.
Serraj’s visit to Rome comes on the back of the visit to Tripoli on 17 June by a high-level Turkish delegation. The Turkish delegation included the Foreign Minister, the Minister of Treasury and Finance and the Head of Turkish Intelligence.
Tripoli had reported that the meeting ‘‘touched on the return of Turkish companies to complete their work in Libya, in addition to the mechanisms of cooperation and integration in the fields of investment, infrastructure and oil, and outlined the approach adopted by Libya to develop the concept of development through public-private partnership’’.
Tripoli also reported that ‘‘during the meeting, the implementation of the security and military memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries last November, especially with regard to cooperation in building Libyan defence and security capabilities through training, rehabilitation and equipping programmes, as well as updates on the memorandum of understanding on the definition of maritime powers, were followed up’’.
Analysts had noted that the high-level delegation is part symbolic and part celebratory. Having delivered militarily and helped Tripoli drive Hafter’s forces (and their domestic and foreign allies) away from Tripoli and western Libya to as far east as Sirte, Turkey was now looking to convert this leverage.
It was thought that Turkey would be looking to nail down some tangible economic returns such the payment of old debts for part-completed projects and possible new contracts, as well as military returns in the form of possible permanent military bases.