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Libya's PM discusses reconstruction, illegal migration with Italian counterpart

Head of the interim government in Libya, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh [Wikipedia]
Head of the interim government in Libya, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, 8 February 2021 [Wikipedia]

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh discussed with his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi, on Tuesday, reconstruction, trade exchange, migration, and bilateral relations.

This came during a meeting held at the government headquarters in Tripoli, followed by a joint press conference at the start of Draghi's visit to the Libyan capital on Tuesday. The duration of the visit was not announced.

During the press conference, Draghi said that the meeting dealt with Italy's contribution to the reconstruction efforts in Libya, explaining that "many important reassurances were given [in this regard] during the meeting."

He added: "We talked about our cooperation in different fields, most importantly about infrastructure, energy, health, and culture."

There are no accurate official figures available on the value of the reconstruction projects required to repair the damage caused by the militia of retired General Khalifa Haftar and before it the anti-Daesh operations.

However, head of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Mohamed Raied, told Anadolu Agency that the overall value of the project will reach about $50 billion.

On the other hand, Dbeibeh expected "the growth of bilateral cooperation and partnership with Italy in the field of energy and electricity. The friendship treaty had previously included important discussions with the Italian company Eni and important provisions in this regard."

He continued: "We reached an understanding on health cooperation between the two countries. Our health sector is suffering and we seek Italy's in this field, along with some other projects."

READ: Crisis in Libya over of distribution of sovereign positions

On trade and economic exchange, Dbeibeh said: "We are looking forward to reopening Italian airspace to Libyan planes, resuming flights between the two countries, and activating the customs agreement."

Up to 77% of migrants face abuse, exploitation and trafficking - Refugee crisis, Libya - Cartoon [Hani Abbas/MiddleEastMonitor]

Up to 77% of migrants face abuse, exploitation and trafficking – Refugee crisis, Libya – Cartoon [Hani Abbas/MiddleEastMonitor]

He called for "facilitating visa procedures for Libyan citizens, especially students, businessmen and patients, and ensuring smooth transactions for the Libyan diaspora in Italy."

Regarding migration, Dbeibeh stated that "Libya and Italy suffer from a common challenge represented by illegal immigration, which constitutes a European, Libyan and global issue."

In 2008, Libya and Italy signed a treaty of friendship, partnership, and cooperation in political, economic, and other fields, including Italian investments worth $5 billion for a period of 25 years starting from the date of signing the accord.

After years of armed conflict, the Libyan crisis is witnessing a breakthrough, after the parties to the conflict managed to elect a unified transitional authority, which took office on 16 March.

Libyans hope that the unified authority will contribute to ending years of armed conflict that emanated Haftar's endeavour to contest the internationally recognised government over legitimacy and power in the oil-rich country.

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