Bashagha Seeks Cooperation with New Italian Government

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The Libyan Parliament-designated government led by Fathi Bashagha affirmed its readiness to resume relations with the new Italian government led by the center-right headed by Giorgia Meloni. This is in accordance with the 2008 Friendship Treaty.

Commenting on the results of the Italian elections that took place on Sunday, Foreign Minister Hafez Gaddour told the Italian news agency ANSA: “We are ready to resume relations, on the basis of the 2008 Friendship Treaty, in security, politics, education, major projects and in all fields. We must wait for the formation of the new Italian government.”

“We have had good relationships with all Italian governments from 2006 to 2012, and we have reached the maximum level of relations with the center-right government.” This is a clear reference to Silvio Berlusconi’s government, which signed the treaty with the then Libyan late leader Muammar Gaddafi.

He said that the 2008 Friendship Treaty “allowed great cooperation between the two countries in all fields, and has provided many privileges to Italy and Libya that other countries do not enjoy.”

“The Treaty of Understanding was signed with the center-right government, which was ruling Italy at the time, so we have good memories of this era,” he said.

The FM stressed that it is time to cooperate with Meloni, as she forms her government to ensure stronger bilateral relations, preserve common interests, and strengthen mutual respect between Italy and Libya.

Notably, the Italian political analyst, Daniele Ruvinetti expects that Italy’s new government will seek to ensure stability in Libya. In an interview with Libya Review, Ruvinetti added that, “It is entirely predictable (and desirable) that the new government will prioritize in the Mediterranean, an area of national interest for Italy.”

According to Ruvinetti, “Rome will seek stability in Libya because it is the first element on which to base control of the flows of migrants.” Therefore it is expected that the Italian government will “move its political-diplomatic levers to resolve and overcome Libya’s political stalemate.”

He explained that “it is now clear that the only way to overcome divisions while avoiding the reopening of conflicts-which is far from the Italian interest clearly-is to try to create third-party, super parties and an inclusive government. Such that it can be tasked to develop a climate of dialogue and stabilisation, and then bring Libyan citizens to Presidential and Parliamentary elections.”

However, Meloni has called many times for an anti-migrant naval blockade on Libya. She said during an electoral rally earlier this month, that the blockade will be implemented by an EU-led mission in agreement with Libyan authorities. “Borders must be defended. What we want to do is a European mission to deal with Libya, and stop departures,” she noted.

She called for opening hotspots managed by the international community in Africa, redistributing refugees in the European Union, and sending back illegal immigrants.