Italian In Depth Article Illustrates All The Main Armed Players In Libya’s Sabratha And How Italy’s Alleged Agreements Would Be Affecting The Events

(Picture: Fighters fighting IS in Sabratha in early 2016. Source: Xinuha)

by Alessandro Pagano Dritto (Twitter: @paganodritto)

[September 20th, 2017 – Italy] The Italian news outlet L’Espresso has released today an article by the journalist Francesca Mannocchi that goes in depth about the clashes ongoing in Western Libya’s coastal city of Sabratha.

The assumption that Sabratha clashes are due to Italy’s alleged agreements.

Soon after the clashes broke out last September 16th, the Libyan news outlet Libya Herald had already stated that

“there has been speculation that it [the conflict] may have been triggered by a dispute over funds that Italy is paying to stop the flow of illegal migrants by having them intercepted and held in Libyan detention centres”.

L’Espresso‘s article – whose author had already written on the very issue about a month ago – goes in depth over this assumption, bearing it out through consulting anonymous both Libyan and Italian sources.

The issue seen from Italy: the government and the official complaint.

[Read about Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni reporting to the Parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic on Between Libya And Italy]

It worths recalling that Italy has always rejected the insisting allegations of funding unclearly affiliated militias over controlling illegal migration: although the Italian government has failed, up to now, to provide any official statement about that, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has reportedly rejected allegations during a closed-door meeting with the Parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic, after which its head Giacomo Stucchi told press Italy is dealing just with “village leaders”, not with militias.

However, an Italian political movement has considered both the Italian and the international press reports accurate enough to file an official complaint against the “authors” of the alleged unofficial agreement in Sabratha and, likely, get an investigation started over that.

[Read about the official complaint an Italian political movement has filed against the “authors” of the alleged agreement between Italy and Sabratha’s militias on Between Libya And Italy]

The article summed up here below could contribute to shade some light on what’s happening now in Sabratha and to the alleged Italian involvement in this situation.

September 2017 clashes in Sabratha: who’s involved in them.

According to Francesca Mannocchi, the clashes are involving two main armed groups with other supporting groups on both the sides.

The main players are the Dabbashi militia on one side and the Operation Room on the other side. The clashes reportedly triggered out when a black-windowed vehicle belonging to the Dabbashi’s went through an Operation Room’s check point without stopping at it. An anonymous local source states it could even not be a mere incident, as Dabbashi had been previously reported to call on his men for getting heavily armed.

The article describes the Operation Room as follows:

“The counter Islamic State (IS) Operation Room, created after the 2016 US raid on the IS’ positions in Sabratha, is the operative centre against the IS’ presence in Libya, it works in Sabratha under the command of Colonel Abdel Jalil and it is a military force composed not by militias but by soldiers Fayez Serraj government has straightly authorized. Moreover, it counts on the formal support of the Al Wadi brigade, a salafi brigade that supported the military operation to free Sabratha from the presence of IS’ cells*“.

Dabbashi’s militants grew worried about the presence of the Operation Room as it deployed along the coastal road to Tunisia and started to arrest some traffickers.

Now, the article reads, the Operation Room and the allied Al Awadi brigade are clashing against Dabbashi’s Al Ammu and the 48th brigade Reuters had exclusively reported about last August 21st:

“The 48th brigade is one of the main players in Libya’s last weeks of more or less official politics and diplomacy. Created in the late 2016, when Serraj’s central government decided to form units focusing on the oil smuggling. The Libyan Defence Ministry – how journalist Tom Fenoux has reported – signed the agreeement to form the 48th brigade in late January this year, at the time of the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya. At the beginning, its main task was to protect the service stations from the smugglers and to protect the safety of the town. Yet, Dabbashis’ longa manus [literally “long hand”, a latin expression meaning one who controls from behind as a shadow power] is de facto in control of the 48th brigade: “The 48th brigade is a militia made of corrupted soldiers – the Libyan source goes on – Dabbashis are in it since the beginning with Al Ammu’s uncle Hussein Dabbashi. They created the militia in order to control the town and protect Ammu and his businness, knowing a political phase against the smugglers was about to begin. Ammu’s brother, Emhedem, is in charge of the brigade and protects the group’s trafficks. They credited with the government in order to get an official task, yet they’re actually protecting not Sabratha’s security, but their family business. They’ve just changed their uniforms, but they keep on gripping the zone. Before, they used to join the trafficks, now they just pretend to fight them”.

Not only Dabbashi: the groups pressuring both him and Italy.

According to the Libyan source, Dabbashi’s group tried to show itself as the only possible interlocutor with the Italians in Sabratha, but other groups are opposing to that. The article reports Elgul militia, that would control the town’s centre, decided to push migrants into the Mediterranean to send a message both to Dabbashi and to Italy:

“The group’s head Esam Elgul – controlling the Sabratha’s centre – said to be very unhappy with the agreements reached between the Italian intelligence and the Dabbashi group, that would have got not only 5 million euros, but also a possible office inside the Mellitah compound, the ENI’s Libyan branch (militia has been controlling the street next to there due to an agreement reached back then with the Mellitah Oil&Gas)”.

Also the 48th brigade would have an office inside Mellitah, the Libyan source says, and would control the streets around it.

Quoting “an Italian source”, the article also briefly mentions Musad Abugrain “the doctor” as the one running the illegal migration from Sudan and the one with whom Italy’s agreement would have failed: both Elhul and Abugrain would therefore pushed the migrants into the sea, to put both Italy and Dabbashi under pressure.

The risk of a wider involvement in the fighting.

According to the article, Sabratha’s Military Council officially blamed on Italy for the “suspicious agreements of the Italian services with the local militias” and the clashes are on the brink of possibly getting wider by involving outsider groups from Zintan supporting the Operation Room and both Farouq and Kilani militias supporting Dabbashi.

And calling on Zintan would be “the same as calling on [Khalifa] Hafter”.

*This one and the following translations from the piece by L’Espresso’s Francesca Mannocchi must be considered as mere unofficial, partial, translations the blog’s author made at his best capabilities just in order to make the not Italian speaking public aware of what can be read in it. The only complete, authoritative, original article has been linked here the same as it was publicly shared by its own author and publisher.

Annunci

Supervisor Roberto Mignone Explains How UNHCR Is Operating In Libya While Waiting For Authorization To Return

(Picture: Roberto Mignone, supervisor of UNHCR Libya. Source.)

translated by Alessandro Pagano Dritto (Twitter: @paganodritto)

[September 19th, 2017 – Italy] Answering to the journalists’ questions  after today’s informal meeting of the European Ministers of Foreign Affairs in New York, the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said EU is funding the UN agencies IOM and UNHCR with 90 million euros. It is known that Italy is urging for the agencies to return to Libya over the detention centres for migrants.

The one that follows is the unofficial translation, from Italian into English, of the interview journalist Angela Mauro released to UNHCR’s Libyan breanch supervisor Roberto Mignone. It was published in the original language on the Italian Hufftington Post last September 14th.

[Read about UNSMIL’s Ghassan Salamé announcing to Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano UNHCR is ready to return to Libya within September or October on Between Libya And Italy]

“We stand ready to collaborate and we’ll be back to Libya for all interests and purposes as soon as we’ll get the authorization”.

UNHCR Libya’s supervisor, Roberto Mignone, talks to us from Tunis, the city where the UN agency is forced to stay as the appropiate security conditions haven’t been met in Libya, yet. “UNHCR – he explains – rejects refugees and asylum seekers to be detained, all over the world. In Libya UNHCR pays regular visits to the official detention centres in order to provide humanitarian assistance. Our presence in these detention centres does not promove such facilities, nor the consequent procedure, but it is our duty to provide refugees and asylum seekers with help in order to support their protection even if they are under detenction. Assistance we provide in the centres for migrants helps to ease suffering migrants, asylum seekers and refugees”.

How are you operating in Libya? Are you succeeding with it?

At this very moment, we have a staff of about 40 collegues in Tripoli and 3 in Benghazi. International staff can enter just in rotation due to the UN security rules. We all hope to enter soon with a team: we stand ready, we’ll enter as soon as they give us authorization.

As soon as you have a UN protection. When?

The so called UN guard should reach Libya at the end of the month to protect the UN base, one of the needed conditions to have as present there.

Any extimate of how many centres for migrants lie in Libya?

The Libyan department over illegal migration controls 29 centres: we cover 27 of them, not being able to enter in the 2 left over security reasons. Then, there are other places that could be detenction centres, controlled by traffickers and militias. Yet, we have no extimate of these one and we can’t enter into them for clear reasons.

Do detenction centres have any problem of human rights, as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has denounced in a letter to the EU?

Detenction centres we visit have many problems, starting from the fact they are overcrawded. And that’s itself a problem. Then, some have also violations of human rights.

What do you mean?

Abuses and sexual exploitations.

The Italian government is asking you a help to run the camps in Libya, as it is asking NGOs. What do you answer to that? And what do you suggest to do?

We’ve paid 658 visits to some of these centres just this year. We often work on restorating bathrooms, showers, on bringing power generators everywhere there’s need of them, medical assistance, things different from food. Yet, if we find some refugees, we sent a letter to the Libyan authorities and they release them: we’ve succesfuly freed some 1000 people in the last months, operating that way. The ones remaining in the centres are economical migrants, we take the others out.

What happens to them?

We have the so called “Community development centres”: two, in Tripoli. We schedule freed people as refugees, they are given an UNHCR docment guaranteeing them protection and access to some services in our centres, where we also do medical examinations: 21.500 this year. Up to now, we have scheduled as refugees or asylum seekers an amount of 42.834 people. The most of them remains in Libya, where we offer assistance, also over paying rent and food, as well as integration projects.

I beg your pardon, does it means detenction centres in Libya could be overcome? Also for the economic migrants?

UNHCR rejects detenction of refugees and asylum seekers all over the world. We take the refugees out of there, but we ask for solutions for the vulnerable cases: families, women, children, elders must be taken out of Libya because Libya is not a place where they can be safe. We want to create an open reception centre, with people allowed to go in and out of it and able to receive as many as 1000 refugees, and organize from there the reintegration of the weak classes to third Countries accepting people at risk.

Where, the third Countries?

European Countries and Canada, for exemple. UN High Commissioner for the refugees Filippo Grandi sought for 40.000 units for people in the Mediterranean. 5000 only for Libya.

Don’t you fear EU is not going to answer? After all, many Countries from Eastern [Europe] ignored EU Commission’s relocation plan.

The risk exists, but I see many expressing solidariety with both Italy and the Libyan authorities. We’re proposing a way to let the people arrive in safety, not in the boats’ journeys of hope.

It seems hard, with such wind blowing…

I must say some of our difficulties in Libya come from having an only Western open Embassy, the Italian one. And the final talks to reintegrate the people should be with Embassies’ personnel.

So that only Italy can receive them.

We can overcome this obstacle with our “Emergency transit mechanism”, where we can make the final controls. We can evacuate the vulnerable people and send them in transit centres in third Countries, from where they can be reintegrated.

Do you blame on the Libyan authorities over the conditions of the detenction centres?

We keep on talking to the Libyan authorities: it’s needed to work. But I’d like to add a further element.

Please.

There’s also half a million of displaced Libyans, in need of assistance, in Libya: we work with them too. If no one finds a solution, could, they too, seek for a solution somewhere else, out of Libya, Northward”.

 

Italian Political Movement Files Denunciation Against The “Authors” Of The Alleged Italy’s Agreement In Libya’s Sabratha

(Picture: The first lines of the official text of the IR’s denunciation. Source: PIR’s official website)

by Alessandro Pagano Dritto (Twitter: @paganodritto)

[September 18th, 2017 – Italy] Italy’s political movement Radicali Italiani (Italian Radicals, IR) has filed a denunciation with Rome’s Public Prosecutor against the “authors” (p. 1)* of the alleged agreement between Sabratha’s militias and Italy over migrants. The deunciation dates to last September 11th and was shared on the party’s official website last September 15th.

It widely quotes Semptember 2017’s reportage by Corriere della Sera‘s journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi, who described Ahmed Dabbashi’s personal story and gathered information on him by interviewing Sabratha’s security personnel both anonymously and openly. Then, the denunciation also mentions Middle East EyeReuters and Associated Press as further sources on the whole issue.

[Read about Associated Press and Corriere della Sera accusing Italy of dealing with Sabratha’s militias and traffickers over migrants on Between Libya And Italy]

IR’s national secretary Riccardo Magi officially demands – the filed document reads – “guilties to be punished in the case the described facts come to be true and they may be subsumed into the category of a penal relevancy” (p.1) and calls for the Corriere della Sera‘s reportage to be part of the inquiry as an evidence.

“If the news the reportage spread were true – the full official text of the denunciation reads – there would be evidence that both domestic, constitutional, laws and international, european, laws and principles have been severely broken; moreover [such violations] would be funded with funds of unknown sources and reporting” (p. 3)

The denunciation forsees that the alleged agreements in Sabratha would break the Italian Constitution‘s Article 80, the European Convention of Human Rights‘ Article 3, the Article 4 of its Annexed 4th Protocol, Geneva Convention‘s Article 33 and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, particularly its Articles 3 and 19. The document also recalls the Strasbourg’s Court judgment of February 23rd, 2012, condemning Italy for sending back to Tripoli a group of about 200 migrants in May 2009: it’s the so called “Hirsi Jamaa VS Italy” case.

And it states:

“Beyond the breach of the international law, more or less secretly entrusting criminal organizations, known for their illicit actions, over controlling migrations would entail accepting and sharing such actions, so that even the crime of conspiracy and uncountable associated crimes could be supposed” (p. 5)

The denunciation also blames the February 2017 Memorandum of Understanding agreed by Tripoli and Rome and the decision of tasking the Libyan Coast Guard with curbing migration:

“[Sabratha’s agreement] would definitely be an illicit degeneration of an international policy already heavily controversial and probably illegitimate when it was confined to delegate the “official” Libyan authorities on taking charge of the migratory phenomenon. […] now criminal brigades would even be involved by favouring their illicit actions as well as their legitimation” (pp. 5-6)

On its own official website, PIR also complains that neither the Italian Parliament or the Italian citizens have been officially made aware of the alleged agreements in both their subjects and their forms.

[Read about Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni reportedly rejecting allegations of dealing with Sabratha’s militias and traffickers in a closed-door meeting with a parliamentary committee on Between Libya And Italy]

*This one and the following translations from the legal document must be considered as mere unofficial, partial, translations the article’s author made at his best capabilities just in order to make the not Italian speaking public aware of what can be read in it. The only complete, authoritative, original document has been linked to the article itself as it was publicly shared by the IR.

Italy Could Send 100 Carabinieri To Libya’s Southern Border And Resume An Old Surveillance Project, Italian Press Reports

(Picture: An Italian Carabiniere training Libyan personnel in 2014. Source: Military News From Italy).

by Alessandro Pagano Dritto (Twitter: @paganodritto)

[September 17th, 2017 – Italy] Italy could send about 100 troops, “likely to be Carabinieri”, to Libya’s Southern border and resume an old, Gaddafi era, surveillance project of the Country’s borders, the Italian news outlet Il Giornale reveals in an article by journalist Fausto Biloslavo.

The article details the supposed Carabinieri mission as aimed at

“training the Libyan border guards and guarantee safety to the UN personnel that will work in the Southern area. The mission will lie in a base to be built or fixed in the desert area at the border with Niger”.

Something – the base – that the head of the joint committee over migration Tarek Sanbour has denied Italy’s going to do, according to Arraed LG.

“The technical project by Finmeccanica – the article adds – was ready in the last year of Gaddafi being in power. The rebellion blocked everything, but the desert points where to put coverage, cameras and sensors had been chosen. The cost of 300 million euros had been partially paid. The European Union should take charge of the rest”.

Il Giornale straight quotes Italy’s Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti – likely, a sign she’s been informed about the reports – as saying that “we are ready, but details must be discussed with the Libyans and some time will be needed in operative terms”. Over troops sent abroad, she recalls that the whole issue must be discussed in Parliament; “that means the urgent move could skip to the next year”, the outlet comments.

These statements come a day after the joint committee of Libya and Italy over migration has agreed Italy’s project of a mission to Libya’s Southern border, even though details of the mission itself are still largely unknown.

[Read about the joint committee over migration agreeing Italy’s projects for Libya’s Southern border on Between Libya And Italy]

Moreover, Italy’s Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti had stated already last May that Carabinieri was training Libyan local police; something that lead to think that these reports of Carabinieri sent to the Southern border aren’t unlikely at all and that at the countrary such move has been considered for some time.

[Read about Italy’s Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti stating Carabinieri is training local police forces in Libya back last May on Between Libya And Italy]

Eventually, in July 2017 an Italy’s former Airforce CoS, Leonardo Tricarico, revealed that Finmeccanica – an Italian company on defence linked to the Italian State – presented a surveillance plan for Libya’s borders in 2012, but at the end the plan failed to be implemented.

[Read the unofficial translation into English of the interview to the former Italian Airforce’s CoS Leonardo Tricarico about Italy’s 2012 surveillance project for Libya on Between Libya And Italy] 

 

 

Joint Committee Over Migration Agrees Italy’s Project For a Mission Over Controlling Libya’s Southern Border

(Picture: armed group in Libya’s desert, filed pic. Source: Mirco Keilbert for Zenith Channels)

by Alessandro Pagano Dritto (Twitter: @paganodritto)

[September 19th, 2017 – Italy] The Libyan – Italian committee agreed to

“support Libya’s efforts in the Southern border also through an Italian project funded by the European Union (EU). A mission to Libya’s Southern border primarly aimed at creating a logystical base for the operational activities of the Border Guard and forseeing an adequate presence of UN in the territory”,

an Italian Interior Ministry’s official statement reported on September 15th, 2017.

The statement also points out “the need to complete the training activities of the Libyan Coast Guard with the aim, at the end of the courses, of giving back the ships of the naval units still guarded by Italy” and states that “Italy will send emergency aids to the local area’s [South] communities through the institutional channels of the Libyan authorities”.

The last shipments were sent by Italy to the coastal towns of Sabratha and Zwara back in August 2017.

[Read about Italy sending aids to Sabratha and Zwara last August on Between Libya And Italy]

Details of the mission still lacks: inside or outside Libya?

It’s not clear, as for the statement, where the mission would be set up, whether inside or outside Libya: while the statement simply reads that “[the Libyan authorities […] called for a major engagement from Niger, Chad and Mali […]” a Sole 24 Ore‘s article anticipating parts of it just reads of “a mission at Libya’s Southern border, thus in correspondence of Niger and Chad”. The article also stated – by quoting anonymous “sources from the Ministry” – that “the mission’s details have yet to be defined”, that could maybe explain the ambigous formula in the statement. 

Set up inside Libya, it would be the third Italian mission in the Country after the first one in Misrata started in October 2016 and the second one in Libya’s national waters off Tripoli, launched in August 2017.

About a military collaboration between Rome and Tripoli over the South: Italy officially rejected reports of a mission last May.

“Italian troops will collaborate with the Libyan police forces over controlling the Southern border”Sole 24 Ore also stated with details not included in the official statement.

[Read about Italy rejecting reports of a military mission just outside Libya’s Southern border last May on Between Libya And Italy]

While Italy’s secret services likely collaborated with some Libyan military personnel in the South as two Italian workers were briefly kidnapped near Ghat and then succesfully released in November 2016, Italy’s CoS office officially rejected press reports of a mission just outside the Libyan border – exactly in Niger – the following May: the mission, back then labelled as Deserto Rosso (Red Desert), appeared to be very similar to the one now officially agreed.

[Read about the reported collaboration between Italian and Southern Libyan forces during the November 2016 kidnapping of two Italian workers on Between Libya And Italy]

Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti, however, has strightened contacts with the neighbouring Countries of Libya, meeting their representatives at least twice in Rome during 2017: in the latest of the two meetings Mali also attended for the first time.

[Read about Italy’s Minister of Interior Marco Minniti meeting Libya’s neighbouring Countries in Rome in the latest August 2017 meeting on Between Libya And Italy]

What about LNA’s presence in Fezzan?

Back in August, Marshal Khalifa Hafter mentioned both Italy and Europe when interviewed by the Italian press soon after he had verbelly threatened the Italian warships in the national waters off Tripoli. In that occasion he spoke in a more friendly way, calling on Rome and Bruxelles to support him over the control of Libya’s Southern border.

[Read the unofficial translation into English of the August 2017 interview to Marshal Khalifa Hafter on Between Libya And Italy]

Now Italy seems to let the calling fall, as the Libyan – Italian committee aggreeing the mission is a creation of the February 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Rome and Tripoli’s UN backed Government of National Agreement (GNA) lead by Fayez Serraj. The MoU has been recently declared valid by Libya’s highest judiciary court and Tripoli’s deputy Interior Minister Abdel Salam Ashour lead the Libyan delegation to Rome, according the Italian Ministry’s statement.

Yet, Hafter’s Libyan National Army (LNA) succesfully set up its control in Libya’s Fezzan after May 18th, 2017, Brak al Shati massacre, forcing Misrata’s Third Force and other groups to withdraw from there; Libya Herald has recently reported about LNA reorganising its ranks in the area.

[Read about the picture showing Marshal Khalifa Hafter and Italy’s Minister of Interior Marco Minniti shaking their hands in Benghazi on Between Libya And Italy]

On September 5th, LNA shared a picture showing Khalifa Hafter and Italy’s Interior Minister Minniti shaking their hands after meeting in Benghazi: though it appeared like an official picture, Italian Ministry of Interior never officially commented the picture and its publication, apparently highlighting it was not ready to meet Hafter publicly as Italy’s Ambassador Giuseppe Perrone had previously done, at the countrary, back in April.

In a recent visit to Russia, LNA’s spokesman Ahmed Mismari confirmed LNA’s commitment to the Southern border “on the condition that the weapons’ embargo is lifted”, Russian news agency Interfax reported last September 13th. In that occasion, Mismari also slammed as “a great conspiracy” “unacceptable to us” the engagement of Italy and other European Countries on Libya’s Southern border: “we are trying to solve this problem through negotiations with Italy on revisiting the 2007 [correctly: 2008] treaty, which, by the way, banned the establishment of camps in the south of the country” he also reportedly said, meaning that relations between Italy and Eastern Libya are not completely broken despite the official de facto distance of the very last times.

Italy gains EU’s support over migration, ties with local governments and Libya’s borders.

By carrying out actions in Libya’s South, Italy would pursue the goal of curbing the illegal migratory flows coming from the Countries South of Libya and crossing Libya to reach out Italy and Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. The same goal Italy pursues by strenghtening its own ties with Libya’s North Western coastal towns such as Sabratha or Zwara and by training the Western Libya’s Coast Guard in the framework of the EUNAVFORMED EU naval mission.

While Italy’s relations with Sabratha have been accused of unclarity by both the Italian and the international press, Europe has shown signs of fully supporting Italy’s way and its rejections of the reported unclear channels – traffickers themselves – over crushing the illegal traffics of human beings: European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has recently said – Italian news agency ANSA reported – that “everything has been made in clarity and transparence, with no hidden channels or negotiations behind the scenes”.

[Read about Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni rejecting press reports of a collaboration with traffickers in Sabratha to a parliamentary committee on Between Libya And Italy]

Speaking to a parliamentary committee in a closed-door meeting early in September, Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Italy has no agreement with Sabratha’s traffickers, as it has links with Libya’s “village leaders”, the head of the committee reported with an apparently confused description of what such “village leaders” should be.

As for the EU funds Italian Interior Ministry’s statement mentions, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini September 12th’s statement had borne them out as she said that “most recently, we have launched a €46 million program to help manage the southern border of Libya, run together with the Italian Ministry of Interior”.

[Read Between Libya And Italy‘s April 2017 article “Detailing An Hypothesis Of Italy Collaborating With “Libya’s Authorities” In The South Over The Illegal Camps For Migrants”]

 

 

Italy Renews Its Call For United Efforts Under UNSMIL As FM Angelino Alfano Joins The London Meeting On Libya

(Picture: Starting from the right: UNSMIL’s head Ghassan Salamé, UK’s Secretary of State Boris Johnson, USA’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano. Source: Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

by Alessandro Pagano Dritto (Twitter: @paganodritto)

[September 15th, 2017 – Italy] On September 14th, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano joint an international meeting in London, UK, focused on several issues: Libya was among them. Along with Italy, also Egypt, France, United Arab Emirates, UNSMIL and, clearly, UK attended the meeting.

A day ahead it was hold, the British Foreign Office had stated that

“the Libya meeting is an opportunity to discuss how to break the political deadlock in Libya, and to build momentum in support of the efforts of the UN Secretary General and his Special Representative. Helping to bring stability to Libya is a vital part of UK efforts to tackle the threat from terrorism and the issue of illegal migration, which exist in close proximity to Europe”.

The Italian Foreign Ministery introduced the meeting that way:

“The meeting aims to make a joint reflection on the state of the political process in Libya, exchange evaluations on how to support the action of the United Nations on this dossier ahead of the meeting on the same theme that Secretary-General Guterres will convene in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next 20 September.

The meeting will then discuss a Roadmap for the amendments to be made to the National Political Agreement, for the adoption of a Libyan Constitution and for the perspective of holding parliamentary elections in view of the “expiry” of the Skhirat Agreement next 17 December. Lastly, the discussion will focus on renewing the mandate to the UNSMIL mission”.

Speaking to the press right after the meeting, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said renewed Rome’s call on united efforts under the UN umbrella: a perspective Italy appears to be strongly recommending particularly after July’s French meeting between Fayez Serraj and Khalifa Hafter.

[Read about Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano calling for united efforts under UNSMIL and UN on Between Libya And Italy]

According to the official outlet of Italy at the United Nations, Onu Italia, Alfano said that “too many mediations don’t bring results; it would be better to concentrate all efforts on the UN Special Envoy’s action in Libya” and that “strengthening the UN in Libya would have the effect to sideline whoever tries to have separate deals in order to get out the better for themselves”. Something he had already said in past occasions, confirming Italy’s current pattern on that very issue.

“We confirm the close cooperation between France and Italy on the Libya dossier” also stated an official Italian FM’s statement few days ago, adding that “Libya needs unified security forces that report to the Presidential Council and under the control of civil authorities”.

Italy Is Dealing With Libya’s “Village Leaders”, Security Committee’s Head Reports After A Closed-Door Meeting With PM Paolo Gentiloni

(Picture: Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni (R) and the Director of the Department of the information for security Alessandro Pansa (L) while joining the closed door meeting with COPASIR parliamentary committee. Source: Government via La Stampa)

by Alessandro Pagano Dritto (Twitter: @paganodritto)

[September 14th, 2017 – Italy] While meeting the parliamentary committee for the security of the Republic (Comitato Parlamentare per la sicurezza della Repubblica, COPASIR) last September 12th, Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni rejected the allegations Rome is dealing with unclearly affiliated militias to curb the illegal flows of migrants from Libya.

[Read about the allegations against Italy dealing with unclear militias and traffickers over migrants in Sabratha and about Rome rejecting these allegations on Between Libya And Italy]

A summary of what Gentiloni said about Libya during the closed-door meeting has been provided to the press by the committee’s chief Giacomo Stucchi. According to the ANSA news agency, he said that

“agreements have been done in Libya not with the traffickers but with the Libyan institutional representatives; who are not democratically elected mayors as [they are] here, but could be defined as village leaders, the representatives managing administratively those realities. In change, we gave something to the Libyan institutional representatives, [something] that is above all projects that could be achieved”.

Some Italian news outlets reported further excepts from Stucchi’s summary, revealing very simalr concepts. According to the Italian version of the Hufftington Post Gentiloni also added that Italy is talking to “all the players on the ground”; something that would lead the mind to the meeting between Libyan National Army (LNA)’s Marshal Khalifa Hafter and Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti, known through a picture published by the LNA but never officially confirmed nor denied, up to now, by the Italian government.

However, the meeting came at a time when both the Italian and the international press are accusing Italy of unclear relations with Sabratha’s armed groups over migrants.

The last details on that have been provided by the Agence France Presse (AFP), who on September 13th quoted a Sabratha’s security official as saying security forces are expecting traffickers to hand over their migrants soon and Sabratha’s mayor Hassen Dhawadi as saying that Italian officials reject rumors circulating about an “agreement under the table” reached in Malta last July between the Italians and the traffickers.

[Read about Italy’s Ambassador Giuseppe Perrone meeting Sabratha’s mayor Hassen Dhawadi last September 10th on Between Libya And Italy]

Rome at first rejected such allegations through informal and anonymous statements to ANSA and AdnKronos news agencies, then PM Gentiloni did the same in the aformentioned meeting; yet, a clear, public and official statement about the whole issue still lacks. It may come when the recent request by the COPASIR’s Deputy President Giuseppe Esposito will be officially met: he asked for official explainations by Prime Minister Gentiloni and Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano over the reports France and UK contested Italy’s policy on migration during their talks with some Libyan military representatives.

Other meetings of the COPASIR committee, with “supplementary notes” are expected within the end of the year, ANSA reports.