ROME – Italy and Libya will work together on illegal immigration and renewable energies, Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah told reporters at a joint press conference after meeting here on Monday.
“Italy stands with Libya and supports it during this complex transition: the concrete implementation of a ceasefire, the removal of mercenaries and foreign soldiers, and the creation of an institutional structure,” Draghi said.
If all goes well, this process should culminate with elections and “a process of national reconciliation” by the end of the year, the Italian prime minister added.
Other European countries will be a part of this effort, Draghi said.
Libya is a “large-scale energy partner” of Italy in terms of fossil fuels “but we also want to start cooperation in the field of renewable energies”, the Italian leader said.
Draghi said the two leaders also discussed “humanitarian and migration issues, the fight against human traffickers, refugee aid, humanitarian corridors, and the development of rural communities”.
“Italy intends to continue financing voluntary repatriations as well as humanitarian evacuations from Libya,” the Italian prime minister added.
For his part, the Libyan prime minister expressed his satisfaction at the “excellent bilateral relations” between the two countries, which are “reinforced by mutual goodwill”.
“We will tackle illegal immigration together, along with other European countries, and the countries of origin of the illegal immigrants,” the Libyan prime minister said.
“The immigration problem cannot be solved in the Mediterranean alone, but should be tackled by going to the roots of the problem, which is not just a Libyan or Italian responsibility, but a common one,” he said.
Dbeibah said Libya wishes to “increase trade relations (with Italy) and to work on renewable energies as well as the reconstruction of Libya.”
“Italy could play an essential and primary role as an investor in Libya,” he said.
Libya has been suffering insecurity and chaos since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, making the North African country a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal migrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean toward European shores.