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Libyan Factions Reach Diplomatic Breakthrough in Rome | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Faiez Mustafa Serraj, President of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord of Libya (C) sits next to Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Taha Siala (L) and Interior Minister Al-Aref Al-Khoja during a meeting in Rome, Italy March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

London – Italy managed to broker a diplomatic breakthrough in Libya that has the potential to bring the two main warring sides together in a new political agreement after years of division, fighting and economic deterioration.

Yet, the scale of the advance will be established later this week. However, this didn’t stop Italy from praising the compromise it brokered between the presidents of the House of Representatives, Ageela Saleh, and the state council, Abdulrahman Sewehli. Italian foreign minister, Angelino Alfano, and the Italian ambassador to Libya attended the meeting between the two parties.

According to a statement from the state council: “there was an atmosphere of friendliness and openness” at the meeting in Rome.

The statement pointed out there would have to be further consultations between the two sides this week in order to achieve the reconciliation and stop the blood shedding as well as ensure the return of displaced persons.

It appears that US President Donald Trump, who met the Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni, does not have the intention to have a direct role in Libya. It seems that Trump would rather leave the it to the states in north African countries, the EU, Russia, Egypt and some Gulf states to decide their future.

For his part, Saleh defended his meeting with Sewehli saying he met with him as a Libyan citizen nothing more. He confirmed that he still refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the council established by Sewehli in Tripoli.

The house of representatives led by Saleh has refused to approve a government of national accord based in Tripoli for more than a year until changes are made to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), which can only be effected by a joint team from the house and the state council.

Saleh stated that Sewehli dealt with him as though he were the Speaker, while he dealt with him as a citizen and nothing more.

Saleh denied any disagreements with Khalifa Haftar and reiterated his support to the Libyan Army and its role in protecting the country and its stability.

“I am the Speaker of the parliament and the people are entitled to ask me about results and not about meetings,” Saleh said.

In a different matter, the family of Libyan Intelligence Office Abdel Baset al-Megrahi launched a fresh effort to posthumously clear his name.

Megrahi was convicted of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988.

Family lawyer Aamer Anwar said that a dossier of evidence will be delivered to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which will review it and decide whether to hand the case on to an appeals court.

The family of Megrahi is still protesting his innocence after he lost one appeal and abandoned another before being freed in 2009 on compassionate grounds. He died of cancer in 2012.

In December 1988, the New York-bound Boeing 747 flight exploded killing all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground, many of which were American college students flying home for Christmas.

In 2003, Gaddafi’s regime admitted to its responsibility for the attack and pledged to $2.7 million to the families of the victims, but the family of Megrahi claims it has new evidence that he was under pressures from both the British and Scottish governments.