Italy 'should help Libya, but without foreign peacekeepers',

Ambassador-designate says. 'Derna out of control but few ISIS'

04 December, 20:01

    Ezzedin al Awami, the new Libyan ambassador to Rome Ezzedin al Awami, the new Libyan ambassador to Rome

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO/NEW YORK - Libya's ambassador-designate to Rome, Ezzedin Al-Awami, on Thursday called for Italy to help bolster the ''legitimate power of the elected parliament and to stabilize security''. The former vice president of the General National Congress (GNC) noted that, however, ''the Libyan population would not accept the presence of foreign peacekeepers''.

    In recent days Italy's foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, had said that Italy was prepared to intervene with a peacekeeping mission if asked to do so by the UN. ''Neither soldiers nor advanced weaponry that could end up in the wrong hands are needed,'' Awai added, saying that what was necessary was ''logistical and technical support to stabilize the situation on the ground, as well as moral support.'' He noted that Italy, ''which is the most important country in Europe for us, with very strong relations and economic activities, can act as a mediator with other countries.

    The situation in the eastern city of Derna is out of control but the city is surrounded by the armed forces,  Al-Awami also told ANSA. The former vice president of the General National Congress (GNC), recently appointed to his new position by Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni, added that the army was now, ''thanks to the support of the parliament and the government, stronger than the militias. There aren't many Islamic State (ISIS) members, including foreign ones.''

    Libyan media quote sources with insider knowledge as saying that the self-declared emir of the Islamic State for North Africa, the Iraqi Abu Nabil Al-Anbari, is living in Derna. The man's real name is reportedly Wessam Abd Zeid, former emir of the Iraqi province Al-Anbar. Anbari is said to have met ISIS supreme leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi during his time in a US prison in Iraq.

    Awami also said that ''80% of Benghazi is under army control, while the eastern coastal oil hub is entirely secure.'' Libyan PM Al-Thinni spoke on the issue of Benghazi on Thursday as well, saying that 96% of the city had been liberated and that the Libyan army had begun the battle to liberate Tripoli.

    ''The legitimate parliament''supports UN-mediated dialogue and will take part in the December 9 meeting in Ghadames, Awami added.'' ''But we will not speak,'' he continued, referring to Libya Dawn militias that currently control Tripoli,''with those that have blood on their hands.'' ''If an agreement is reached for a national unity government,'' he said, ''an exit of militias and in investigation into the attacks on the cities, this will be the basis for a solution to the crisis.'' (ANSAmed). 

     

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