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Italy Calls UN Support for International Libyan Initiatives | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A tank is seen as fighters from Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government take position during a battle with ISIS militants in Sirte, Libya. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

Cairo– The United Nations and Italy reiterated the need for uniting all international initiatives aiming at supporting stability in Libya under an international umbrella.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni discussed recent Libyan developments with French President Emanuel Macron.

In addition, Italian Foreign Minister Agnelino Alfano discussed over the phone the Libyan situation with UN Sec-Gen Special Envoy and Head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salame. During the phone call, Alfano expressed his appreciation for the efforts of Salame as a concrete evidence of UN’s support for the political process in Libya.

Both Salame and Alfano agreed on the need to bring all initiatives together within UN support to bring stability to Libya. They agreed to remain in contact over the coming days.

Aki news agency stated that PM Gentiloni and President Macron discussed over the phone migration issues, Libyan crisis, and counter terrorism. The phone call was made prior to the quartet summit including Italy, France, Germany and Spain determined to take place next week.

In related news, friends and family of Libya’s former prime minister Ali Zeidan said that he has been kidnapped by an armed group in Tripoli and they hadn’t heard from him since nine days.

Karam Khaled, a friend who accompanied Zeidan, stated that the former PM had returned to Libya in early August for the first time since his dismissal and was planning to hold a press conference to respond to his critics.
Khaled confirmed that Zeidan’s visit had been coordinated with Libyan Premier of UN-back government of national accord Fayez al-Sarraj.

“It was the GNA that prepared the visit, including protocol at the airport and the hotel reservation,” Khaled said, adding that an armed group attempted on August 12 to seize Zeidan but they were stopped by hotel guards.

He reported that gunmen from the same group returned the next day and forced them to hand Zeidan.

“Since then, we have had no information on where he is being held or his condition,” he said, criticizing the government’s “silence” regarding the incident.

Meanwhile, Zeidan’s son said the family had no news of his father’s whereabouts. Speaking by phone from UAE, the son stated that his father’s lawyer had told him no court cases had been brought against the former premier. He expressed the family’s concerns over his father’s health, adding that he holds the government of national accord responsible for the incident.

Zeidan became premier in 2012 and two years later, he was dismissed by Libya’s parliament amid accusations that public funds had been embezzled. Afterwards, he left the country despite a travel ban issued by the attorney general.

In October 2013, gunmen seized the then premier but he was released after several hours.

In other news, Libya’s Sharara oil field was gradually restarting on Tuesday after repeated disruptions causing production shutdowns.

Earlier in the day, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) had announced that a three-day pipeline blockade had ended and force majeure had been lifted on loading of Sharara crude at Zawiya terminal.

But the NOC removed its statement and an oil source said there was a further block on production at the field.

Details of the second reported stoppage at the field on Tuesday were unclear, but the official said it was due to action by a different group to the one that caused a closure at a valve on a pipeline leading from Sharara to Zawiya on Saturday.

The NOC said the closure that lasted from Saturday until Tuesday morning had occurred at valve 17 on the pipeline to Zawiya. It did not say where the valve is located.

“No group has claimed responsibility for the valve closure, and no demands were made, but NOC engineers dispatched to open the valve found a gearbox had been stolen,” the statement said.

“This gearbox was removed by criminals for one purpose only, and that is to blockade the line in future,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla was quoted as saying.