Libya Tribune

Interviewed by Sputnik

Tripoli does not expect any new initiatives to be proposed at the conference on Libya in Palermo, Italy, next month as the event will be aimed at supporting the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the country’s ambassador to the United States, Wafa Bughaighis, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

“There is still no apparent agenda except that it [the conference] will support the UNSMIL mission on the political, security and economical tracks,” Bughaighis said. “I don’t expect any new initiatives. It will be basically to support the UN efforts in Libya.”

Bughaighis, however, emphasized the importance of organizing the conference as part of international efforts to solve the crisis in Libya.

“This conference will be hopefully showing more unification in position toward Libya,” Bughaighis said. “All unification efforts are important for Libya.

This will be great help to solving the conflict and to [enabling] Libyans… reach a solution because at the end it will be a Libyan solution.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Italian Ambassador to the United States Armando Varricchio told Sputnik that Italy is talking with US officials about the US level of participation at the upcoming conference on Libya in Palermo.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in September that US President Donald Trump will take part in the conference provided that he finds time in the midst of the midterm elections.

Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said Monday that the conference will be mainly focused on securing elections in the crisis-torn country.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia would certainly attend the conference, but would later determine the level of its participation, adding that Moscow only received the invitation on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Tripoli wants world powers to align their positions in order to resolve the ongoing conflict in Libya, Libyan Ambassador to the United States told Sputnik on Tuesday.

“It’s so important that the international community unifies its position on Libya,” Bughaighis said. “We want the international community to align its positions toward Libya.”

Bughaighis also said no new initiatives were being discussed with the United States, which still backs the peace efforts led by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), headed by Ghassan Salame.

The United States makes it very clear that they support Ghassan Salame, that they support UNSMIL and they wish not to see many countries with new initiatives and different initiatives,” the ambassador explained. “They want just one plan for Libya that can succeed, and that’s what I hear from them.”

Bughaighis said Russia could still play an important role in peacemaking in Libya.

We ask of Russia what we ask from all the international and regional countries and partners, which is to help us to be in alignment with each other, to unify the positions and to help to stop proxy wars, to stop conflict between countries in Libya so that the Libyans can reach a solution,” she said.

I believe very much that it will be in the end a Libyan solution that will get us out of this conflict.”

Libya has been torn apart by conflict since longtime Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011. The eastern part of the country is governed by the Tobruk-based parliament, backed by the so called Libyan National Army (LNA).

The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, operates in the country’s west and is headquartered in Tripoli.

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Italy to hold an international conference on Libya

On 2 October, Italy’s Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi stated that Italy will hold an international conference on Libya in the Sicilian capital of Palermo on 12 and 13 November.

The meeting intends to gather key Libyan and international figures in an effort to bring together opposing forces and forge dialogue.

The Foreign Minister said the meeting is aimed at restoring peace and facilitating an inclusive political process in the lead up to potential elections, and stated that ‘no deadlines will be imposed or tasks set for the Libyans’.

This statement is likely to be in response to France imposing a fixed date of 10 December for holding national elections, a move which Italy has widely criticised.

Unconfirmed sources suggest that Moavero has received interest from the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar to attend the conference.

The conference also reportedly has the support of US President Donald Trump.

In addition, Moavero met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavro in Moscow on 8 October to discuss ways in which the two nations could cooperate on addressing the crisis in Libya.

The conference, along with Moavero’s meeting with Russia, transpires as a part of an effort by the Italian government to gain a greater and broader influence in mediating the Libyan peace process, aiming to sideline France in the process.

Italy’s right-wing government also seeks greater involvement in Libyan national stability efforts in order to curb the migration flow.

The conference is unlikely to set dates for elections and may work to revive the unified Libyan military talks that occurred in Cairo.

The military talks became stalled as a result of the attacks by Ibrahim Jadhran in the Oil Crescent in June which reignited the debate over the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) complicity with the Tripoli militia’s predatory behavior over national economic institutions and distribution of oil revenue.

Should Italy successfully engage with Egypt re-organizing the military talks then it is likely to also secure Haftar’s presence at the general discussions.

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