Italian FM Meets Libya’s Haftar in Benghazi

Italian FM Meets Libya’s Haftar in Benghazi

Monday, 10 September, 2018 - 19:00
Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi held talks in Libya on Monday with Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar.

The meeting in Benghazi was aimed at strengthening bilateral ties, said the ministry.

The two men "had a long and cordial conversation which relaunched close relations with Italy, in a climate of consolidated trust," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

A source close to Haftar confirmed the talks to AFP without providing further details.

Italy wants to "maintain an active dialogue" with all well-intentioned actors in Libya, Moavero Milanesi said.

"The current political path must be completed, in particular through free and fair elections, held under adequate security conditions," he added, after France pushed for elections before the end of the year.

The ministry said that Haftar "expressed his appreciation for Italy's foreign policy, which Libya can't do without."

"Marshal Haftar added that he was ready to contribute to actively support security, stabilization and dialogue in the country, for the good of all Libyans," the ministry said, without elaborating.

The Libyan capital Tripoli had last week witnessed fierce clashes between rival militias. The Government of National Accord has been largely unable to contain the violence.

A ceasefire was reached last week and has so far held.

The calm on Monday was disrupted when gunmen stormed the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) in what was a suspected ISIS attack. Two people were killed in the attack.

"Two NOC staff were killed in the attack. Additionally, 10 employees were injured," the oil company said in a statement confirming a toll from the health ministry.

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