Libya crisis: Italian foreign minister to meet GNA head in troubled country

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Italy’s foreign minister made a lightening trip to Libya on Wednesday amid a flaring conflict between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the country.

Luigi Di Maio was due to meet the head of the Tripoli-based GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, as well as the interior minister and his foreign affairs counterpart, Italian agencies Agi and Ansa said.

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Rome considers Libya “a priority... our most important issue, which concerns our national security,” according to an unnamed ministry source, cited by the Messaggero daily.

“We can’t afford a partition of the country. That is why we went first to Ankara, a [diplomatic] channel we’ve always kept open,” the source said, referring to Di Maio’s trip to Turkey on June 19.

Read more: Why is Turkey supporting the Libyan GNA? To control Libya’s energy reserves: Experts

He last visited Libya in January.

During his Wednesday visit Di Maio is set to examine an amended “memorandum” of cooperation between the two countries over migration, the Repubblica said.

A map showing territory control in Libya, June 22, 2020.
A map showing territory control in Libya, June 22, 2020.

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Libya in crisis

Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The Arab League on Tuesday called for the withdrawal of foreign forces in Libya and urged talks on ending the conflict in the north African country.

The Turkish-backed GNA has recently made major military gains against the LNA, who have sought to regain control over the west in an abortive attempt to seize Tripoli.

Egypt, which supports the LNA, has warned that advances by Turkey-backed forces on the strategic Libyan city of Sirte could prompt an Egyptian military intervention.

The GNA denounced Cairo’s statements as a “declaration of war”.

Read more: Libya conflict: Sirte-Jufra ‘red line’ set to be next major flashpoint

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