Assessments

France and Italy Each Go Their Own Way on Libya

Sep 5, 2018 | 09:30 GMT
Members of the Libyan Special Forces, who are loyal to Khalifa Hifter, ride in a pickup truck past a billboard bearing the strongman's image in Benghazi during September 2017.

Members of the Libyan Special Forces, who are loyal to Khalifa Hifter, ride in a pickup truck past a billboard bearing the strongman's image in Benghazi on Sept. 19, 2017. France and Italy have differing aims and objectives in Libya.

(ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images)

There's much that France and Italy agree on when it comes to Libya: Both want to stabilize the country so that it doesn't become a haven for terrorism or a staging ground for African migrants, and both wish to prevent its two squabbling governments from fighting one another. But try as they might, the two countries just can't get onto the same page. Paris and Rome back opposite sides of the conflict, and they have two very different views on what should happen next. After bringing together Libya's main players for a conference in May, Paris convinced the various factions to hold elections on Dec. 10. Rome, in contrast, has no wish for any elections this year and is instead planning to hold its own conference on the future of Libya in October. The divergence stems in part from the countries' different imperatives and areas of interest in the North...

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