Italy’s Meloni to Make Push for Foreign Fighters to Leave Libya

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(Bloomberg) -- Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is expected to stress her government’s commitment to ending the presence of foreign fighters in Libya as she promotes her so-called “Mattei plan” for the region during a state visit to the divided African country.

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Meloni will meet officials including Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who holds sway over the oil-producing nation’s east. The prime minister’s office said on Tuesday this was in line with Italy’s commitment to “working with all Libyan actors.” Libya is divided between a government in the capital of Tripoli and a rival administration in the east.

The visit to Libya’s two governing factions aims to enable cooperation between Italian and Libyan companies, and to ensure the country’s warring parties make headway on a political process, people close to the prime minister said.

Migration has traditionally been a hot topic in the political debate in Italy and Meloni has attempted to control the narrative on the issue. The prime minister announced the “Mattei plan” shortly after taking office in 2022 with the stated goal of creating prosperity in African nations and thereby reducing migrant flows.

Read more: Italy Seeks to Boost Africa Ties With €5.5 Billion Funding Plan

Libya’s rival administrations also have opposing views on foreign policy. Meloni’s attempt to create convergence between the two parties could be seen as a win for her ahead of European parliament elections in June.

Italy holds the Group of Seven presidency this year and government officials have worked hard to portray the country as a mediator who can talk to all nations in the Mediterranean basin, people close to Meloni have said.

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