Mixed prospects for Italy’s Palermo Conference
On 31 October, Foreign Affairs published an article by Federica Saini Fasanottu and Ben Fishman on the prospects of the Palermo Conference. This initiative set up by the Italian government aims at gathering Libyan factions and key international actors on 12-13 November to discuss solutions to the crisis in Libya. The authors argue that the Palermo Conference is an opportunity for Italy to make a contribution to Libya’s peace process, but only if Italy manages to minimize its competition with France and support the UN and its efforts in Libya. In that regard, Saini Fasanottu and Fishman encourage Italy and the participants of the Palermo Conference to propose measures which build up on the positive developments which have taken place in Libya recently, such as the cease-fire brokered in Tripoli between rival militias.
For Libya-Analysis, prospects for success of the Palermo conference are low. First, on 1 November, a leak of the invite list for the Italian led Palermo conference on 12-13 November to Libyan media caused a public outcry regarding the non-representation of the invitees and the way they were invited. Furthermore, ambiguity surrounding the goals and mechanisms of the event persists, undermining the chances of success of the event. The official legislative bodies of the Libyan Political Agreement (the House of Representatives and the High Council of State), which are supposed to make the agreement happen, remain swamped, gridlocked and ineffective despite media efforts by some of their members to showcase an agreement. As such hopes that Palermo may be the final stage of reconciliation and unification before planned elections are now low, and the event may not even happen at all. This could open doors for worse instability security wise.
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