Libya's new prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah during celebrations commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2011 revolution in Tripoli, Libya, on February 17, 2021 | Photo: EPA/STR
Libya's new prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah during celebrations commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2011 revolution in Tripoli, Libya, on February 17, 2021 | Photo: EPA/STR

The incoming Libyan prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, has said that he wants to strengthen Libya's "privileged relationship" with Italy, focusing in particular on immigration.

Two new governments, in Rome and Tripoli, should strengthen their countries' "privileged relationship", incoming Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah said on February 21.

Offering his congratulations to Italy's new premier, Mario Draghi, Dbeiba in particular called for closer relations on the migration dossier. Libya will need as much help as possible from partners like Italy as it confronts a turbulent transition period, he added.

On Sunday, Libya's interior minister, Fathi Bashagha, survived unscathed an ambush by gunmen on his motorcade.

Migration dossier a priority for Italy and Libya

The management of flows of migrants and refugees who attempt every day to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe will be one of the main dossiers of the new Libyan government led by Dbeibah.

The newly appointed government will be trying to unite the country and oversee elections in December.

The issue is also central for Draghi who stressed that the wider Mediterranean area is "an area of natural primary interest for Italy" when he presented his government's program to Parliament last week.

The Italian premier is expected to take advantage of his prestige to rebalance responsibilities in Europe with an eye on an goal that has escaped his predecessors -- setting aside the Dublin regulation, which forces countries of first entry to take charge of refugees.

Draghi wants European policy, not bilateral agreements

A European repatriation policy for migrants who have no right to asylum, safeguarding the rights of refugees, will be "crucial" for Draghi, well-informed sources say.

Experience has shown that bilateral agreements with countries of departure are not very effective. One example has been Libya.

Institutions in Tripoli, in fact, are still too fragile to be able to guarantee effective migration policies. The country is deeply shaken by a civil war that has been going on for a year and a half between the east and west. A truce agreed in October is very fragile, with tens of thousands of foreign soldiers still deployed on the two fronts.

Tension rose on Sunday when an armored vehicle along a highway close to Tripoli attacked the convoy of the interior minister of the outgoing government, Fathi Bashagha, who escaped unscathed.

Bashagha is a powerful figure in Libya, an interlocutor of Turkey in the dispute with Russia and Egypt, who is however not immune to risk.

 

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