The President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, is trying his best to stay in power despite his resignation in September last year, and this time Al-Sarraj is trying through the gate of Rome, as he offered on his recent visit to the Italian Capital to name a prime minister from the east of the country, calling on the Italian government to support this proposal.
According to a source familiar with Arraed, he confirmed that the Italian government rejected this offer, and assured Al Sarraj that it supports the path of the UN-sponsored Political Dialogue Forum, led by the UN mission in Libya.
Italian newspapers revealed that the Italian Prime Minister “Giuseppe Conte” and his Foreign Minister “Luigi de Maio” intentionally leaked to the press the news of the proposal that Al-Sarraj asked them to convey to Benghazi, about forming a government that Haftar would choose its president in exchange for Sarraj retaining the presidency of the Presidential Council. Conte wanted to evade any accusation from his Western partners that he was working against the international path agreed upon.
In the same context, Conte commented on his meeting with Al Sarraj about Italy’s full support for the dialogue process led by the UN mission, disavowing any other parallel path, and ignoring Al-Sarraj’s talk about his intention to stay until the upcoming elections.
After the Italian press leaked Al-Sarraj’s proposal, other reports came out saying that the biggest aim of Italy at present in communicating with Al-Sarraj is to settle pending financial files, so that any other coming government would commit to them if the latter left.
The same reports, including the Italian newspaper “Glow Blist”, revealed that, coinciding with the delivery of Al-Sarraj’s message to Haftar by “Conti” and “de Maio” in Benghazi, the first meeting of the Italian-Libyan Joint Economic Committee was held, headed by the deputy foreign ministers of the two countries.
The reports said that the Presidential Council agreed with the Italian government to pay old credits requested by Italian companies for contracts before 2011 amounting to 323 million dollars, and to open new negotiations for the recognition of other funds after 2011 ranging between 50 and 100 million euros, according to what the head of the delegation said to Italian media.
The mission embarrassed Al Sarraj
The Acting United Nations Envoy for Support in Libya, Stephanie Williams, also chose precise words in her reception of Al Sarraj and said that her meeting with him in Rome comes on the eve of the Wednesday meeting in Geneva, in which the Consensus Committee at the Dialogue Forum is expected to resolve the remaining controversial points, and expedite the formation of the new executive authority that was decided by the outcomes of the first dialogue in Tunisia.