ROME: Italy will continue its support for Libya, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has told top Government of National Unity officials during meetings in Tripoli, Benghazi and Tobruk.
“Italy is at your side, we will continue to support you,” Di Maio told Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibah during his fifth visit to Tripoli since the beginning of the year.
Di Maio also met President of the Presidential Council Mohamed Yunus Al-Menfi, his deputies Abdullah Al-Lafi and Musa Al-Kuni, President of the High Council of State Khalid Al-Mishri and Minister of Foreign Affairs Najla El-Mangush.
A spokesman in the Italian foreign ministry told Arab News that Di Maio visited Libya “to discuss key topics, such as furthering the dialogue on the UN-led stabilization and institutional transition process, which Italy supports with determination, to encourage the renewed commitment of all Libyan parties to concrete progress toward achieving several key objectives, including the holding of elections on Dec. 24, the implementation of the ceasefire, the adoption of the unified budget and national reconciliation and, last but not least, promoting the many initiatives underway for the broad-based strengthening of the bilateral partnership.”
The spokesman added that the minister’s visit was “clear confirmation of Italy’s steadfast commitment to stabilizing Libya, which has taken an important step forward with the reopening of the Sirte-Misurata coastal road announced on the eve of the visit.”
Di Maio’s visit comes just weeks after the reopening of the Italian Consulate General in Benghazi.
No details were disclosed concerning the recent intra-Libyan talks — held in Rome in the last week of July — on adopting a legal framework for the country’s next general elections, scheduled for Dec. 24 this year.
However, an Italian diplomatic source said: “The issue was certainly one of those that was covered during today’s meetings.”
The talks also focused on joint efforts to revive economic cooperation between the two countries across key sectors, including infrastructure, energy and transport.
“This was also in light of the positive results of the Business Forum hosted at the foreign ministry on May 31, in the presence of Dbeibah,” an Italian source said.
The visit also covered proposals for cooperation in the fields of migration, health and culture.
At the end of a meeting with Dbeibah, Di Maio announced an Italian donation to Libya of 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
The delivery will “help the strategy set by the Libyan government to fight the pandemic, which is hitting hard here as well,” the minister said.
Since the pandemic began, Libya has recorded 256,328 coronavirus cases and a death toll of 3,579. The country has seen a recent increase in cases of several thousand per day, partly because of increased testing.