Italy’s premier Giuseppe Conte will on Thursday hold talks with Libya’s eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar during a two-day visit to Rome, Adnkronos has learned.
Haftar was due arrive in Rome late on Tuesday, Adnkronos learned from sources, a report that the Italian government did not immediately confirm.
However, on Wednesday, Faraj Aljarih, director of The Address Libyan news site, which is close to Haftar, tweeted that he was “in Rome in a two-day visit”.
“Khalifa Haftar is in Rome in a two-day visit. He will hold two separate meetings on developments in Libya with the US ambassador to Tunisia Daniel Rubinstein and Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte,” read Aljarih’s tweet.
Haftar last month attended talks in Palermo on the sidelines of an international conference on Libya with his main Libyan rival, United Nations backed premier Fayez al-Sarraj and with Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte.
Haftar, a general who leads a self-styled army, has repeatedly threatened to attack Tripoli and overrun the capital, where about 30 percent of Libyans live and where the UN-backed government is based.
However, Haftar appeared to offer an olive branch to his rival when he reportedly told Sarraj during their talks in Palermo: “You don’t change horses in the middle of the river,” which was interpreted by Italian officials to mean he would not topple him before elections next year.
Haftar did not take part in the 12-13 November Palermo conference on stabilising Libya that aimed to support a new UN plan to unite the country’s institutions and oversee an electoral process starting in the Spring.