Libya’s self-styled army commander Khalifa Haftar met Tuesday the Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti as well as the Italian Interior Minister.
Pinotti told Haftar, according to Italian local media, to follow in the footsteps of the current political process if he wanted to be the top leader of Libya.
Likewise, La Repubblica said that Italian defense and interior ministers had made a clear and straightforward message to Haftar.
“Haftar should face his opponents in political ways and must leave out the military options against the Government of National Accord of Fayez Al-Sirraj, which is supported by the UN.” The message reads, according to La Repubblica.
In the meantime, Haftar and the Italian minister discussed Libya’s stability, fighting terror, and ending immigrants’ influx.
Haftar also met with the Italian Chief of Staff, Claudio Graziano, and it was noticed that Haftar was dressed in civilian suit in the military meeting, knowing that days ago, Graziano received the Presidential Council-appointed Chief of Staff, Brigadier-General Abdulrahman Al-Tawil in a military attire.
According to the Italian News Agency Aki, the Italian officials told Haftar that they made a deal with Al-Sirraj’s government for controlling the flow of migrants, but to have Libya regain its stability, there should be a new all-out diplomatic process that includes all parties – in the west there is Al-Sirraj and in the east there is Haftar.
It’s noteworthy that Haftar’s visit comes upon an invitation by the Italian government after there had been some tension as Haftar rejected Italy-Al-Sirraj MoU regarding fighting illegal immigration in Libya, vowing at the time to target any Italian vessel in the Libya waters. However, later on he backed down and described Italians as friends.