By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 10 December 2017:
The head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter had talks today in Rome with Italian foreign minister Angelino Alfano on the situation in Libya. According to media in Rome, both men agreed that the action plan of UN special envoy Ghassan Salamé to solve the Libya crisis had to be supported. Both moreover said that elections were essential although Hafter also stressed the importance of the LNA in defending Libyans from the threat of terrorism and its role as a unifying force in the country.
Hafter has previously been reported saying that if there were no substantive progress on amending the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) by the end of the month and a new government formed then it would be up to the LNA to solve the country’s crisis. Alfano, however, has taken the same view as the UN and various western governments about the LPA, which is that the supposed expiry date for the Presidency Council and the HoR under the terms of the agreement – 17 December – does not count because the agreement has not yet officially been activated.
Hafter also this afternoon had talks with Italian defence minister Riberta Pinotti.
Hafter was last in Rome in September when he met with Pinotti as well as Italian chief of defence staff General Claudio Graziano and interior minister Marco Minniti.
The latter, who had talks with Hafter in Benghazi a couple of weeks before that and had invited him to the Italian capital, was in Tripoli the day before yesterday for discussions on illegal migration and the treatment of migrants with Faiez Serraj.