President Conte, Do the Right Thing in Libya: No More Support for Al Sarraj LETTER BY SOUAD SBAI TO THE ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER

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COUNCIL PRESIDENT

PRIME MINISTER GIUSEPPE CONTE


Confident in the intelligence and in the sense of responsibility that have always distinguished your work on the institutional and political level, I hereby ask you to take into due consideration the appeal launched during the demonstration held on Wednesday, August 7, in Montecitorio Square, which urged the Government to bring about a turning point in Italy’s role in the longstanding Libyan crisis. You have already laid the groundwork for a significant change in Italy’s approach to this critical matter when, at the Beijing summit, your statement “neither with Al Sarraj nor with Haftar” placed the country in a super-partes position with respect to the main actors in the conflict. This was a necessary step, but not an easy one, as it was taken after the overcoming of a major resistance against any deviation from the line of the previous Renzi’s administrations.    But the alignment to Qatar and Turkey in support of the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA), chaired by Al Sarraj in Tripoli and strongly influenced by the political factions and armed militias tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, was condemning Italy to a total marginalization in the major file of its foreign and security policy.   By correcting the error of relying on the Islamist camp for the safeguard of Italy’s national interest as of the fall of Gaddafi, you have opened new perspectives for the Italian diplomatic action aimed at promoting Libya’s stability and pacification.   These perspectives now require further courage and determination in taking a new step forward, a decisive one: the Italian Government must put an end to all forms of legitimacy and support toward the GNA, which continues to keep Tripoli and the rest of the country in a state of war. Persevering in the recognition of the GNA as Libya’s official government is indeed a contradiction that has become unsustainable, and both Italy and the United Nations are called to address it. The UN Special Envoy, Ghassan Salamé, has been targeted with heavy criticism by Al Sarraj for mentioning the support that the GNA receives from the militias in a report to the Security Council.   The removal of Salamé from his post was openly requested by the Grand Mufti of Tripoli, Sadiq Al Ghariani, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who has already been under the spotlight due to his ties to Qatar and terrorism. On the other hand, Al Sarraj himself admitted that the GNA receives weapons from Qatar and Turkey, which he termed as “friendly countries”, in violation of the embargo launched by the Security Council. As for Italy, the GNA has issued repeated threats against the Government, lest that it could cease its support. Al Sarraj warned that hundreds of thousands of migrants are ready to depart for Italy from the Libyan coasts, while the GNA vice president, Ahmed Maitig, said that thousands of ISIS terrorists currently detained in Libyan prisons could reach Italy in case the GNA should fall. However, Italy must not fear such threats. This is why the demonstration called the Italian Government to take up a leading role in the international community to have both the UN and its member states remove all forms of legitimacy and support to the GNA. This is the time for Italy to take action, with a view to providing a decisive contribution to the achievement of the necessary conditions for the resolution of the Libyan crisis. Indeed, this crisis will never end until Tripoli and other important cities will remain hostage to the Muslim Brotherhood’s militias and to the states sponsoring them. Prime Minister Conte, your sensitivity and awareness on foreign policy and security issues make me certain that you have already considered this opportunity, which would allow Libya to concretely move towards a new future of peace, development and human rights. In the interest of Italy and of all the Mediterranean countries.

SOUAD SBAI


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