Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Leaders Meet in Italy to Find Settlement in Libya

Leaders Meet in Italy to Find Settlement in Libya

ROME – A gathering of leaders of Libya’s quarrelling factions and of countries keen on stabilizing the North African nation opens Monday in Sicily, aimed at finding a political settlement that would bolster the fight against Islamic militants and stop illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe’s southern shores.
But the meeting’s chances of success appear uncertain, not least because of the difficulties involved in any attempt to get all stakeholders — two rival administrations, unruly militias with considerable firepower and an ambitious army general — to agree on a road map that would reunite Libya after seven years of chaos and bloodshed while not infringing on their current spheres of power.
Gen. Khalifa Hifter, commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army, is unlikely to go to the Palermo event, according to officials close to him. The Egyptian- and UAE-backed Hifter, who also maintains close ties with France, views the meeting as lacking a “clear agenda” and designed largely as a media event favoring Italy, the host, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Hifter’s absence would render the meeting largely irrelevant.
Dealing a further blow to the meeting’s chances of success, some European heads of state that Italy had hoped would come — including U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin — are also staying away, sending lower-ranking State Department or Foreign Ministry officials instead.
France’s foreign minister is expected, and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte will be greeting arrivals Monday evening, ahead of the first event, a closed-door dinner. (Fox News)