On Thursday, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani stated that “stabilization in Libya through a consensual electoral process between Libyans, is critically important to Italy,” according to the Italian news agency, Nova.
In press statements, Tajani made it clear that “achieving stability in Libya is the focus of Italy’s talks with all the international actors that wield influence on Libya.”
The FM stated that “great efforts must be exerted to allow elections to be held in Libya this year, in line with the United Nations mediation efforts, which are strongly supported by Italy.”
Notably, Italy’s Prime Minister Georgia Meloni is set to visit Libya on Saturday, 28 January along with Tajani, and Interior Minister, Matteo Piantedosi.
During her visit, the Italian Prime Minister will hold talks with senior Libyan officials, including her counterpart Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba. In addition to witnessing the signing of an agreement worth eight billion dollars between Italian energy giant Eni and Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC).
Saturday’s visit comes at the conclusion of a set of trips to North Africa, within the scope of that Pact for the Mediterranean. In order to involve the countries most directly interested in the stabilization of Libya, contain the migratory flows, and also guarantee greater gas supplies to Italy and Europe, as an alternative to those from Russia.
Meanwhile, the Libyan Prime Minister-designate Fathi Bashagha denounced Meloni’s anticipated visit to Libya. He said he was “surprised” by Meloni’s meeting with “a government whose mandate has expired and which therefore no longer has any legitimacy.”
The PM spoke of a “mysterious” agreement in the oil sector between Eni and the NOC. He warned that “the Libyan State will not accept any agreement with suspicious purpose and result”, threatening to “resort to the judiciary”
He added that the deal “requires increasing the share of the foreign partner, and reducing the share of the national partner.”
Libya’s current political stalemate grew from the failure to hold elections in December 2021 and Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba’s refusal to step down. In response, the country’s eastern-based Parliament appointed Fathi Bashagha, who has sought to install his government in Tripoli for months.
The protracted stand-off between the two governments led to bouts of clashes in Tripoli last year, risking the return of civil war to the oil-rich nation after months of relative calm.
The North African nation has plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime leader Muammer Gaddafi in 2011. Libya has been virtually ruled by a set of rival militias and armed groups in the east and west.