By Sami Zaptia.
London, 3 September 2020:
As part of what was described by the Libyan government as a short working visit to Libya that comes within the framework of consultation and coordination between the two friendly countries of Libya and Italy, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio was reported to have said that Italian companies would begin to return to resume their work on stalled projects in Libya.
The statement was made in his meeting with Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister, Faiez Serraj in Tripoli on Tuesday (1 September).
The Libyan government reported that the ‘‘meeting dealt in great detail economic cooperation through the Joint Economic Committee, where it was agreed to accelerate its activation to start its work, and Italian companies will begin to return to resume work on stalled projects and implement new projects covering the areas of services, reconstruction and development to give a boost to the Libyan economy and open up jobs and recovery to various sectors’’.
The quick visit to Tripoli by Di Maio was also followed by a visit to eastern Libya to meet House of Representatives head Ageela Saleh.
Analysts see the meeting partly as support for Serraj following public demonstrations against his ineffective government after five years in office and the threatening implosion of his government after Serraj suspended his Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.
But the trip can also be seen as a continuing effort by Italy to keep itself relevant, in Libya generally and in western Libya specifically, following Turkey’s emergence as western Libya’s new and most relevant political, military and economic ally.
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