Stabilising Libya ‘an absolute’ priority for Italy  

Stabilising Libya 'an absolute' priority for Italy

Photo by Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post

Pubblicato il: 14/05/2020 19:30

The stabilisation of war-ravaged Libya through dialogue is “an absolute priority” for Italy, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday, urging an end to the blockade of the country’s oil infrastructure.

“Stabilising Libya in a lasting and sustainable way is an absolute priority for the Italian government, to safeguard our national interest, the future of the Libyan people and of the entire region,” said Di Maio.

“There can be no military solution to the Libyan crisis,” Di Maio said, reiterating Italy’s support for a truce leading to a negotiated, inclusive political settlement and democratic elections.

Di Maio also called for the resumption “without preconditions” of oil output in Libya, which was halted in January by a blockade that has lost the country over 4 billion dollars in oil revenues.

“Of great worry is the almost total halt to production and to oil sales which has dragged on since January,” Di Maio stated.

Di Maio was addressing a joint hearing of the upper and lower house of parliament’s foreign affairs committees.

Libya’s former colonial power, Italy has extensive energy interests in the oil-rich country which has the ninth largest known oil reserves in the world and the largest in Africa.

Once the lifeblood of Libya’s economy, oil has long been a key factor in the country’s civil war as rival authorities and the armed groups that back them vie for control of the oil fields and state revenue.