Haftar Holds Secret Meetings in Rome on Migration

Libyan General Khalifa Haftar addresses a press conference in Benghazi. PHOTO: AP

Cairo- Following an invitation from the Italian government, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army, arrived in Rome Tuesday to meet with Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti, Interior Minister Marco Minniti, the head of the Italian intelligence service and army commanders.

Italian newspaper “Il Messaggero” said that Haftar’s visit will include holding secret meetings on migration and discussing the possibility of providing protection for work sites of Italian Energy working group “Eni” in Libya.

Meanwhile, Head of the Russian contact group on Libya Lev Dengov denied Moscow’s bias towards Haftar in the current crisis among the Libyan parties.

Dengov tried to prove the rapprochement among all Libyan parties. He said that during Haftar’s visit to the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, early this year, “the Russian contact group was meeting with Misurata soldiers, who defeated ISIS in Sirte.”

“This reflects our stance. Our main goal is to combat terrorism, and we are ready to cooperate with any party that can assist us in this mission, and we also support the consolidation of state institutions in Libya.”

“Moscow does not intend to lift the arms embargo on Libya anytime soon,” he noted.

In the field, the clashes continue to escalate and then calm again between the two security forces of the government of the National Accord in the city, leaving 17 dead, about 50 wounded, and the majority of the city’s population displaced, according to the Libyan Red Crescent.

Chairman of the Presidential Council of the Libyan Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj was keen to visit the Martyrs’ Square in the center of Tripoli upon his arrival from New York, after the end of a demonstration called by former nominee to Premier post in Libya Abdul Basit Igtet.

On the other hand, US President Donald Trump has accused Libya of failing to cooperate in “restoring its nationals under final deportation orders.”

“Libya faces great challenges in sharing several types of information, including information on public safety and terrorism, which are needed to protect national security,” Trump said.

In a statement issued by the US embassy in Libya on Monday, Trump said that the large terrorist presence within Libyan territories increases the risk posed by the entry of Libyans into the United States.

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