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Italy and Tunisia call for political settlement in Libya

26 February 2015 9:29

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Italy and Tunisia have called for reconciliation among warring sides in Libya, saying a political settlement is the only solution to weather the crisis in the North African nation.

The two countries issued a joint statement on Wednesday, urging militias of the war-wracked country to arrive at a compromise solution, media reports said.

“Today we agreed on the fact that the solution of the conflict (in Libya) should not be military, it is necessary that the solution is a political one,” Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche said after meeting his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni in Tunis.

“Military solutions will not solve problems. They complicate them further and lead to mass migration.”

The Italian diplomat, for his part, noted that dialogue is Libya’s only hope.

“Italy is committed to support by any means the commitment of the UN envoy” and to “put the Libyan issue top of the global agenda,” Gentiloni said.

UN Representative in Libya Bernardino Leon urged the warring sides in early February to join in direct peace talks.

Baccouche and Gentiloni also discussed immigration and security cooperation to “face the dangers of terrorism.”

Italy and Tunisia fear that the ISIL Takfiri group, which has infiltrated into Libya, might strike a serious blow to their national interests.

Gaddafi-era official to head army

Libya’s parliament is seeking to appoint general Khalifa Haftar, a former ally of the ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, as the country’s top army commander.

Government spokesman Farraj Hashem said on Wednesday that the Libyan Parliament President Aguila Saleh has proposed to appoint the Gaddafi-era official as the supreme army commander.

Haftar enjoys popularity in some regions of the war-wracked African state and is believed to be one of the few figures capable of repelling the attacks of the ISIL Takfiri terrorists.

Haftar launched an offensive against the ISIL terrorists in eastern Libya in 2014, which earned him the nickname “rogue general”.

However, his critics argue that Haftar is planning to sideline Abdullah al-Thinni, the internationally recognized prime minister of Libya, and reinstate a Gaddafi-style political system

Libya plunged into chaos following a 2011 uprising against Gaddafi’s dictatorship. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.

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