Ending Libya's civil war will stabilise region - Italy

Ending Libya's civil war will stabilise region - Italy

Photo by Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post.

Ending Libya's deadly six-year conflict will bring stability to the region and also safeguard Italy, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio wrote Thursday on social media after a visit to Tripoli.

"Working intensively to stop the war in Libya means stabilising the region but also protecting Italy, its coasts and its citizens," Di Maio wrote on Facebook.

Libya's closeness to Italy's coast makes it vulnerable to terrorists, who lurk among boat migrants and refugees fleeing the war, Di Maio claimed.

"Terrorists frequently hide among these people," he wrote.

During his visit on Wednesday to the war-ravaged country, Di Maio had talks with premier Fayez al-Sarraj, interior minister Fathi Bashagha and foreign minister Mohammed Siyala, according to the post.

During the talks in Tripoli, Libya's United Nations backed government (GNA) headed by Sarraj presented Di Maio with a document that met several changes requested by Italy to a 2017 accord, Di Maio stated.

The changes aim to ensure migrants refugees the full protection accorded them under international conventions, Di Maio wrote.

"We are moving in the right direction," he stated.

During their talks, Di Maio and Sarraj underlined "the need to resume the political process and end foreign interference" in Libya, according to a statement released by Sarraj's office.

Di Maio also told reporters that he conveyed to Sarraj Italy's concerns over a possible attack by Turkish-backed GNA forces on the strategic city of Sirte, which Egypt warned at the weekend could trigger a military intervention.

Di Maio also called for the strong enforcement of the UN arms embargo on Libya that has been in place since 2011 when a Nato-backed uprising toppled and killed late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, plunging the country into chaos.

The Arab League on Tuesday called for the withdrawal of foreign forces in Libya and urged talks on ending the conflict in the oil-rich North African country.