Libya: Italy Reopens Embassy in Tripoli, Confident in Stabilization Process

italian-embassy-tripoliItaly announced it would reopen its embassy in Libya following a closure that lasted for over two years.

The Italian Foreign Ministry made the announcement following a meeting between Prime Minister-designate of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Serraj and Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti in Tripoli on  Monday.

The Italian Foreign Ministry stated that the return of the Italian diplomats to the war-torn country showcases “confidence in the stabilization process in the country” while Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano tweeted that it is “a great gesture of friendship to the Libyan people.”

His Libyan counterpart Mohamad Taher Siala said the Serraj-Minniti meeting ended with both sides agreeing “to build new relations of cooperation on the basis of the friendship treaty signed in 2008.”

Giuseppe Perrone’s appointment as Ambassador to Libya has already been approved by the GNA. He was expected to present his credential on Tuesday before undertaking his functions immediately.

The return of an Ambassador was also motivated by the need to combat illegal migration. Italian Foreign Minister Alfano pointed out that “now more controls on migrant departures” will be taking place on the shores of Libya.

During the meeting between Serraj and Minniti, the two sides reached agreement to cooperate on security, fighting against terrorism and human trafficking. Analysts however questioned the impact of such agreements because the GNA’s authority in Libya remains limited.

Libya wants Italy to help it curb oil smuggling from the country, which deprives it of the much-needed revenue. The Italian interior ministry said the embassy “will be the principal coordination center for all these projects” discussed at the Monday meeting.

Diplomatic missions in Libya have been targeted in recent years forcing them to close and the Italian embassy was one of the last western missions to close in February 2015 after a coalition of militias seized the capital Tripoli.

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