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.