Military intervention in Libya could plunge the chaos-stricken North African country into a "devastating" humanitarian crisis that would impact Italy as well, populist premier Giuseppe Conte said on Monday.
"We absolutely must avoid a humanitarian crisis, which would be devastating, not only for the obvious repercussions on our country, but for the Libyan people," Conte said.
He was speaking to reporters after talks in Rome with Qatar's deputy premier and foreign minister Mohammed al-Thani on the escalating fighting in Tripoli this month between eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar's militia and forces loyal to the United Nations backed government.
"Once again, the political dialogue supported by Italy has shown itself to be the only way forward," Conte stated.
"The view that military intervention could be a solution for Libya has been discredited - force can never lead to sustainable solutions," he said.
Italian energy giant Eni has major business interests in oil-rich Libya and the lawless country has long been a launch-pad for human traffickers who organise boat crossings to Italy and other European countries for hundreds of thousands of migrants.