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“The great absence”, the Italian press described the expected absence of Marshal Haftar from the upcoming Rome conference on Libya

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

ROME – The Commander of the Libyan National Army, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, will not attend an Italian conference on Libya, which is likely to take place under an international umbrella in November, HuffPost Italy said on Friday, describing Haftar’s absence from the upcoming Rome conference as “the great absence”.

The Italian HuffPost said that the absence of Marshal Haftar would mean that Italy’s international efforts on Libya are “stillborn” and that the failure of the conference would mean a “political failure” for Rome in the open Libyan file.

Rome has so far hesitated to announce the rejection of Marshal Haftar to attend the conference, which protests the Italian position of the Paris conference that brought Libyan rival leaders together in May and ended with a political declaration, of which nothing has been done, amid informal accusations by Italy worked to topple the Paris understandings.

At the moment, Rome fears that France will play a “crippling role” for its conference on Libya, which is thought to be held in the Mediterranean island of Sicilia, while Italy continues to rally international support for the conference and give it political impetus in a bid to derail any possible political influence from Paris.

Libyan rival leaders have agreed in Paris on holding presidential and parliamentary elections in the country, but Italy has expressed several times its refusal to hold elections at any cost, resulting in the exit of many demonstrations and protests in Libya some of which have burned the Italian flag and denounced what they described as “blatant Italian intervention in Libya’s internal affairs.”

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