Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio on Wednesday made an unannounced visit to Libya’s capital, Tripoli, where he met with Fayez Al-Sarraj, prime minister of the country’s internationally-recognized government, to discuss on bilateral relations and issues of joint interests, reported The Libyan Express.
Di Maio’s Libya visit came weeks after forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) repelled a 14-month-long offensive by eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).
According to a statement released by Prime Minister Sarraj’s office, Di Maio and al-Sarraj stressed the need to resume the political process and end foreign interference in Libya. The two rejected “the negative foreign interference” in Libya.
Referring to the European Union’s naval operation in the Mediterranean that has been launched to enforce an arms embargo on Libya, Al-Sarraj said enforcement needed to be global and should include all maritime, land and air routes.
The two leaders also discussed the issue of undocumented immigration, and Italian support for demining Tripoli’s war-ravaged southern suburbs.
On his return to Rome, Di Maio told reporters that he conveyed to al-Sarraj Italy’s concerns about a possible attack on Sirte, which he said could lead to renewed fighting and more civilian casualties.
“I stated how essential it is to avoid a freezing of the conflict, and that this possibility would lead to a de facto division of the country,” he said.
In related news, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday said his government is only interested in restoring stability in Libya, days after raising the prospect of a military intervention.
During a cabinet meeting on Wednesday with military and civilian officials, El-Sisi stressed the importance of restoring stability in Libya and its institutions to achieve security in the region. He said his government will take all necessary measures to protect the Egyptian national security and the country’s western border with the oil-rich country.