By Alessandra Bocchi.
Tunis, 14 February 2017:
Italian ambassador Giuseppe Perrone has confirmed Italy’s view that the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Hafter, has to be part of the solution to the Libyan crisis. He also stressed the LNA’s importance in the fight against terrorism in the country. He was speaking as Hafter was in Cairo for talks with the head of the Presidency Council Faeiz Serraj about his possible role in the political structure of Libya.
“Italy believes there should be unified military organisation representing Libyans,” the ambassador said in an interview with Libya’s Channel on Monday.
He added that Italy looked forward “to working with all Libyans who are committed to the fight against terrorism and to achieve stability in Libya”.
Italy, along with France, the UK and other Western states and the UN have swung round to the view that Hafter, previously seen as an impediment to peace in Libya, has to be part of the political set-up.
Peronne also reaffirmed that Italy had no active military presence in Libya, and dismissed the allegation that the Italians had been responsible for shooting down a Libyan National Army helicopter last week as complete nonsense.
As for those in the east who had previously condemned the re-opening of the Italian embassy in Tripoli, he stressed Italy’s commitment to the House of Representatives (HoR) and said he believed that as a result of his visit to Tobruk last week, it and its head, Ageela Saleh, now understood that such a move was part of the political process.
The ambassador also touched on the role of Italy’s businesses in helping Libya: “Italian businessmen are ready to return to Libya, as they want to co-operate with Libyans in this difficult stage of the country”.