Italian officials offer ‘maximum support’ with Libya amid meet with deputy PM

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. (AFP/File)
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. (AFP/File)
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Updated 13 January 2021

Italian officials offer ‘maximum support’ with Libya amid meet with deputy PM

Italian officials offer ‘maximum support’ with Libya amid meet with deputy PM
  • Di Maio also confirmed Italy’s interest in strengthening bilateral economic collaboration through the Italian-Libyan Joint Economic Commission

ROME: Top members of the Italian government met the Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maitig in Rome on Tuesday to discuss the country’s latest developments.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio confirmed Italy’s “full support for intra-Libyan dialogue processes under the aegis of the UN, and in particular the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, as they look to hold elections in December 2021.”

He called for an “acceleration of political dialogue through an inclusive and constructive approach by the parties involved, with the aim of unifying the country’s institutions.”

The chief of Italian diplomacy repeated his government’s “firm opposition to any form of external interference in Libya,” and his “hope that the reunification process of Libyan financial institutions will continue.”

Di Maio also confirmed Italy’s interest in strengthening bilateral economic collaboration through the Italian-Libyan Joint Economic Commission, as well as shared work on security and migration, with the revision of the bilateral memorandum of 2017.

He said the appointment of a new UN special envoy for Libya is “urgent” and asked for the agreement on the cease-fire “to be implemented without hesitation.”

The foreign minister said it was essential that the coastal road between Sirte and Misurata was reopened and that all foreign fighters and mercenaries were withdrawn.

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese confirmed that Italy is “close to the Libyan people and offers maximum support for the government of national agreement in the stabilization process of the territory.”

She said that in recent months several members of the Italian administration had the opportunity to meet regularly with their Libyan counterparts.

“We always had a frank and constructive dialogue to strengthen the bond between our two countries,” she said as she reiterated “the closeness to the Libyan people and the utmost support for the government of national agreement in the stabilization path of Libya.”

She added: “Italy has always been and firmly intends to remain on the side of Libya in the process of strengthening its institutions and economic and social revival.

“In view of the upcoming elections, Italy confirms it is attentive and sensitive to the needs and wishes of the Libyan people, based on the historical privileged relationship between the two countries.”

She underlined that Rome considers the peace of Libya a major objective and called for “the attention of all the international players, the EU and the Mediterranean states in particular, so that we can all to work all together for a stable solution, which marks a new phase for all the Libyan people.”
 


Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
Bookseller Yaqoub Mohamed Yaqoub, 45, sits by his roadside stall where he has been working for 15 years, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on January 14, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2021

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
  • Unrest ricocheted beyond North African country, triggering uprisings, crackdowns, civil wars

KHARTOUM: As Sudan’s transitional government shifts the nation from the Islamist rule of ousted strongman Omar Bashir, a new schoolbook has sparked controversy for reproducing Michelangelo’s iconic “Creation of Adam.”
Khartoum’s government has embarked on deeply controversial reforms in a bid to boost its international standing and rescue its ailing economy — but bringing it into a confrontation with those who see changes as anti-Islamic.
The offending picture, in a history textbook for teenagers, has become a flashpoint in the argument. “It is an ugly offense,” said Sudan’s Academy of Islamic Fiqh, the body ruling on Islamic law, which issued an edict banning teaching from the book.
Michelangelo’s fresco, depicting the Biblical story of God reaching out with his hand to give life to Adam, is a flagship piece of 16th century Renaissance art that forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling in Rome.
“The book glorifies Western culture in a way that makes it the culture of science and civilization — in contrast to its presentation of Islamic civilization,” the Fiqh academy added.

BACKGROUND

In a viral video, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting ‘apostasy’ and ‘heresy.’

Furious Muslim clerics have railed against the book and other changes to the school curriculum.
In one video widely shared on social media, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting “apostasy” and “heresy.”
Another urged followers to “burn the book.”
But others defended the changes, saying they were part of necessary education reforms.
“The picture is not in a religious book,” teacher Qamarya Omar said.
“It is in a history book for the sixth-grade under a section called European Renaissance, which makes it placed in context.”