Libya, Serraj telephones Conte: “Help us to clear Tripoli”


ROME – Telephone call between the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the Libyan premier Fayez al-Serraj. The two governments, allies since Serraj arrived in Tripoli in March 2016, have experienced a long period of coldness in recent months. Since April 4, 2019, when General Haftar attacked Tripoli, the Libyan government had repeatedly asked Giuseppe Conte’s Italy for military and political help. Aid denied by Italy from the military point of view and granted with the dropper at the political level.Things are improving: with the military successes guaranteed in Tripoli by the Turkish military commitment, Serraj has found room for international political maneuver. And this convinces Tripoli to try to open a new phase of political collaboration with Italy. Conte invited Serraj to Rome and the Libyan leader made the same invitation for a trip to Tripoli as the Italian.
Palazzo Chigi gives news of the telephone call between the two prime ministers with a few lines of press release: “President Conte had a telephone conversation today with the Libyan President Fayez al-Serraj. At the center of the conversation was the path led by the UN in the process in Berlin. Sharing the refusal of the military option and supporting a political solution as the only sustainable way “.It is not clear what future the path of the “Berlin process” may have, given that in fact the January conference in the German capital ended in failure. But for Italian diplomacy, repeating some formulas even when they are less effective is an indispensable tradition.



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Serraj, on the other hand, has published a press release that goes into the substance of the phone call. First, Conte allegedly gave Serraj some important messages of support: Libyan oil production (blocked by General Haftar) must resume as soon as possible. The entry of weapons into Libya must cease, and here the reference can only be to the Russian fighter planes that arrived in Al Jufra. Again: Conte reassured Serraj that the Irini naval mission “will be impartial and will carry out its duties in complete neutrality”. Tripoli had protested with Italy, with the EU and with the UN because as it was structured, the naval mission could stop the weapons arriving in Tripoli (from Turkey), but not those that reach Haftar from Egypt or Russia (see the case of Mig planes landed in Jufra).


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Serraj then insisted on asking Conte “concrete support for the Libyan coastguard to continue its effective role in saving migrants”. The Libyan premier has asked Italy for help in demining the residential neighborhoods of Tripoli Sud which have been abandoned by the Haftar militias. After months of siege, Tripoli’s army managed to push Haftar’s militiamen and mercenaries away, but by retreating they undermined many homes. In the last few days Serraj is experiencing a moment of greatest political success: the American secretary of state Mike Pompeo made him 2 phone calls, there is talk of the possibility of direct contact with Donald Trump. The military successes guaranteed in Tripoli by Turkey have opened a new political phase. And the most important news is that the United States has raised the tone for a week against Russia’s direct and indirect military involvement of Vladimir Putin in Libya.

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