Italy's Foreign Minister In Libya For Talks With Unity Government Over ISIS



Italy's Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni who arrived in the Libyan capital of Tripoli was received by Ahmed Maiteeq, the deputy prime minister of the UN-backed government. By Yuri Kadobnov (AFP/File)




Tripoli (AFP) - Italy's foreign minister arrived in the Libyan capital on Tuesday in a show of support for the new unity government, the first visit by a top Western official since 2014.

Paolo Gentiloni was welcomed amid tight security at Tripoli's Mitiga airport by Ahmed Maiteeq, deputy prime minister of the UN-backed government seeking to assert its authority in the conflict-hit country.

Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the unity cabinet, arrived in Tripoli by sea with a naval escort nearly two weeks ago and has since won the support of key institutions that control Libya's wealth.

"I am delighted to be in #Tripoli for Italy's emergency aid and to support al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord," Gentiloni wrote on Twitter.




Libya has been plagued by instability since the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime ruler Moamer Kadhafi, with the Islamic State (ISIS) group taking advantage to seize territory.

The oil-rich country has had two rival administrations since mid-2014 when a militia alliance overran Tripoli, setting up its own authority and forcing the recognised parliament to flee to the remote east.

Italy has played a leading role in international efforts to pressure Libya's warring rivals to rally behind the unity government, created under a power-sharing deal signed by some lawmakers in December.


Source: AFP
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