Italian FM Stresses Need for Stability in Libya

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Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani
Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani

The Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani called for working towards the stability of Libya, “before talking about the issue of confronting illegal immigration.”

Tajani criticized Europe’s handling of the Libyan crisis, “as it was too late and did not create a unified strategy, while Libya was dragged into chaos,” in an implicit reference to the role of former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

He suggested starting to invest in relations not only with the Libyan authorities but also with sub-Saharan Africa. “We must avoid neo-colonialism and build strong alliances, through which we create mixed companies to build infrastructure with our resources, in exchange for low-cost raw materials.”

This came in his interview with the Italian newspaper “Libero Agency.”

He pointed to the need to return to the approach taken by Silvio Berlusconi’s previous government, in managing the migration crisis. In line with the left’s vision adopted by former Interior Minister, Marco Minniti by concluding agreements with the migrant origin countries.

Tajani previously asked the European Union to provide $100 billion to Africa, to help it deal with migration. He called for an Italian role “decisive in this matter,” which would enhance its position in the region.

Notably, EU Interior Ministers met in Brussels to agree on an action plan that includes coordination with Libya and Tunisia, to handle the migration crisis. This came two weeks after the French-Italian crisis over the humanitarian ship “Ocean Viking“, which was carrying migrants in the Mediterranean.

France has accused Italy of failing to respect the law of the sea, by turning away the vessel operated by an NGO earlier this month. This triggered crisis talks in Brussels, to head off a new EU dispute over the politically fraught issue.

The AFP noted that all sides described the meeting as productive. Czech Interior Minister, Vit Rakusan whose country holds the EU Presidency, later said all participants had agreed that “more can and must be done” to find a lasting solution.