The Address | Benghazi – Libya
ROME – Terrorism in the Sahel region cannot be beaten if it is separated from the Libyan dossier, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio asserted.
“To my counterparts I said and today I will reiterate: if we talk about Sahel we are there, but we tie the issue to the Libyan dossier,” said Di Maio during an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, which was published today.
“The security of the area passes right through Libya, this is where the mercenaries and fighters who also come from the southern borders end,” he added.
Since April last year, the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has been battling militias allied with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). These militias have been the main source of chaos and instability in the capital since the overthrow of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The conflict saw a grave escalation last December when GNA’s Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj signed a military deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which paved the way for Ankara to send some of its troops as well as Syrian mercenaries to Tripoli.
This escalation triggered a diplomatic effort from the international community to reinstall the peace process in Libya.
Foreign minister of the European Union’s member states have agreed today launch a new naval and air mission in the eastern Mediterranean to stop more arms reach warring factions in Libya.
“Patrolling the skies would also allow us to view land borders and discover violations,” Di Maio commented. “Of course, a maritime and land patrol is also needed”.
The top Italian diplomat confirmed that his country will co-chair the next meeting of the Follow Up Committee on Libya on March 19 in Rome.