The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, had a phone conversation with his Libyan counterpart of the Tripoli government, Mohammed Taha Siala. The announcement came, on May 19, from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During talks, Di Maio confirmed to his counterpart that the EU mission aimed at monitoring the implementation of the UN arms embargo, Operation Irini, will not only monitor aerial and maritime traffic in areas under the Government of National Accord (GNA) control, but also borders between Libya and Egypt. Also, the Italian Minister, recalling his support to the GNA, confirmed to Siala that Irini will be a balanced operation and that it will produce results that will be submitted to the official Committee that will review their compliance to the Berlin Conference outcomes.
Previously, on May 14, during his hearing in front of the Parliamentary Committees of Foreign Affairs, Di Maio already announced he obtained that in the EU Operation Irini 2 additional tasks were included, namely the fight against migrant trafficking and the Libyan Coast Guard training operations. Concerning Operation Irini, Di Maio also highlighted the role of the mission in ensuring the respect of the UN arms embargo. Italy, by its side, will deploy 500 troops, but not on the ground, as this is not allowed under UN provisions. Italian soldiers will take part in naval, aerial, and command operations.
Libya is still torn by conflict, and it is facing deep instability since February 15, 2011. On that day, the country was torn by revolution and civil war. Later that year, in October, the North-African country experienced the fall of dictator Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime, but it has not yet obtained a peaceful democratic transition. On the one hand, there is the Tripoli government, born with the Skhirat accords of Dec. 17, 2015. The Tripoli government is headed by Fayez al-Sarraj and it has international recognition of the United Nations. On the other hand, there is the Tobruk government, with the army general Khalifa Haftar, and sustained by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia, and France. More in the specific, Cairo, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi sustain the Tobruk Army, the LNA, in military and economic terms. Italy, Qatar, and Turkey sustain the Tripoli government.
In trying to find a path to solve the crisis, leaders of the international community, Haftar and Serraj included, gathered in Berlin, last Jan. 19, discuss the situation in Libya, and tried to reach a possible de-escalation of the crisis. At the end of the Conference, participants agreed on three paths to be followed to bring stability to the North-African country. The three paths belong to the political, economic, and military fields. Concerning economic aspects, the focus will be on reforms. Militarily speaking, the parties involved agreed on the foundation of a ceasefire monitoring committee. Referring to the political field, the Berlin Conference called all the Libyan political parties to end the transition phase and to call for free, fair and inclusive elections.
This article was firstly published on May 20, 2020