Italian, French Leaders Discuss Fight Against Illegal Migration, Settlement In Libya

ROME (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th September, 2019) Italy and France agree on the need for a pan-European response to the problem of illegal migration and share the common goal of achieving peace in Libya, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"We have a common resolve to help relaunch the European Union, we are in a key phase," Conte told reporters on Wednesday.

According to the Italian leader, the French side expressed readiness to develop a European mechanism for effectively return migrants to their homeland.

"We need to take the problem away from propaganda, including anti-European," Conte said.

Speaking about the situation in Libya, Conte stressed that the common goal of France and Italy is constructive work "with the involvement of all partners" to achieve peace in the North African country.

"I offered Macron an invitation to host the next bilateral meeting in Italy early next year," he added.

Before negotiations with the French president, the Italian leader was able to discuss the Libyan settlement with the head of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez Sarraj. At their meeting, Conte called the Libyan crisis a major concern for the country, and its settlement a matter of Italian national interest. Conte reaffirmed the support for the GNA and called on Sarraj to make efforts to fight extremists in the ranks of Libyan militias.

In turn, Macron in his speech said that the situation in Libya had become a point of convergence for Italy and Libya.

"We are convinced that a way out can only be found through compromise and dialogue," the French president said.

Rome and Paris, he said, support the convening of an "international conference on Libya, which would include all parties, and an inter-Libyan conference that would allow reconciliation of the parties involved in the conflict."

Since the overthrow and killing of long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been gripped by conflict. Libya is now divided between two governments, with the country's eastern part controlled by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), and the western part ruled by the UN-backed GNA. In April, the LNA launched an offensive to retake Tripoli from the forces loyal to the GNA. The latter, in its turn, has launched a counteroffensive called Volcano of Rage.