Libyan interior minister expected to return to Rome on Monday

A Libyan rebel fighter is seen behind the Libyan flag near the city of Brega, Libya. EPA/VASSIL DONEV

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The interior minister of the Libyan national-unity government, Fathi Bashagha, will return to Rome on Monday for an official visit, Tripoli city councilor Ahmed Wali has told ANSA.

Confirming that the minister met on Thursday “with a US delegation”, Wali told ANSA that Bashaga “will return to Italy on the 13th for an official meeting with the Italian government.
Sources said Thursday that Bashaga was in Rome and that he would meet with Richard Norland, the US ambassador to Libya who is based in Tunis.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio met in Rome on Thursday for talks about the Libya crisis and the tension between the US and Iran linked to Iraq, sources quoted by ANSA said. Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini also took part, via telephone link.

The Libyan Prime Minister Faeyez al-Sarraj himself was expected to come to Rome from Brussels Wednesday evening but instead flew straight back to Tripoli, reportedly irked after eastern Libyan strongman General Khalkifa Haftar had talks in the Italian capital with Conte. Haftar’s forces have been engaged in an offensive on the Sarraj government in Tripoli since April.

Tripoli on Thursday agreed to a ceasefire for Saturday proposed by Turkey and Russia.
But Haftar rejected the ceasefire peace mediation bid by presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, the spokesman for his self-styled Libyan National Army, Ahmed al Mismari, told reporters.

Benghazi sources told ANSA “we thank Russia for its support but we cannot stop fighting terrorism”.

Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said during a visit to Algiers on Thursday that “there is interference by foreign States” in conflict-hit Libya.

He added that “we must find a solution with the EU for the adoption of an arms embargo”. “It us a national security problem that we are addressing with all our strength,” he said. “We’ll push for a date to be identified as soon as possible for the Berlin conference (on Libya). “We have to put all the parties around a table and find a solution”.


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