10 October – 16 October: Italy invites Ageela Saleh to “Sicily” conference and Russia confirms its attendance

Oct 16, 2018 | International actors

On 10 October, Italy’s Deputy ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuel C. Del Re, officially invited the head of Libya’s House of Representatives (HoR), Ageela Saleh, to the Italian led international conference on Libya in the Sicilian capital of Palermo on 12 and 13 November. The meeting intends to gather key Libyan and international figures in an effort to bring together opposing forces and forge dialogue. The meeting is aimed at restoring peace and facilitating an inclusive political process in the lead up to potential elections, and stated that “No deadlines will be imposed or tasks set for the Libyans”.

On 8 October, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed Russia’s attendance at the “Sicily” conference. Italian Foreign Minister, Enzo Milanesi, has said that invitations had been extended to all leaders of major powers to attend the conference – including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last week Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, stated that Western countries had been shorted sighted in their approach to the crisis in Libya and had turned in into a hub for terrorists.

On 8 October, the British tabloid newspaper The Sun reported that Intelligence officials had warned British Prime Minister Theresa May that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to make Libya “his new Syria” and was planning on moving forces and capabilities to Libya to spite the west and gain control of the illegal immigration routes to Europe. On 11 October, the Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson, Ahmad al-Mismari, denied that there was a Russian base in Libya.