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Sarraj denies inviting Italian warships into Libya’s waters

Prime Minister of Libya's unity government Fayez Al-Sarraj addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, US, 22 September 2016. [REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz]
Image of Fayez al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya [File photo]

Head of Libya’s Presidency Council (PC) Fayez Al-Sarraj has denied claims that he invited Italian warships to enter Libyan territorial waters in pursuit of people-traffickers.

Al-Sarraj met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni this week following talks hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris with rival leader and military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

After the talks, Gentiloni reportedly said that Al-Sarraj had authorised Italian naval vessels to sail into Libyan waters.

However, Al-Sarraj denied the claim, releasing a statement today saying that he had not issued any such invitation but agreed with Rome for the Italians to continue with their training and equipping of the Libyan Coastguard to save migrants and prevent criminal organisations profiteering from illegal immigration and smuggling.

Criticising the published reports, Al-Sarraj added that Libyan sovereignty was a red line that could not be crossed and that Libyan territory would be defended.

Read: Sarraj and Haftar end talks ‘positively’

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