2018/14/11 – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said yesterday that he regretted Turkey’s withdrawal from the Libya conference.
« I feel sorry that Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay left the conference. I read his remarks and I didn’t see anything negative about Italy. We must admit that there may be special sensitivities in such decisions, » Conte told reporters after the event in a news conference.
Oktay, who was representing Turkey at the conference in Palermo, left the conference half way through, saying some parties had a « misleading and detrimental approach » to the issue.
The Turkish withdrawal came after the country’s delegation was excluded from a meeting between Eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar and several other key national and international players for talks on the sidelines of the Palermo conference aimed at stabilizing the crisis-stricken North African nation.
« Any meeting which excludes Turkey would prove to be counterproductive for the solution of this problem, » Oktay said in a statement following the incident, underlining that it was « very disappointing. » « Unlike the others, we are open to a broad dialogue with all Libyan and regional actors. It is impossible for those who are responsible for the current difficult situation in Libya to make any positive contribution to the country’s recovery, » he added.
Oktay met Conte on Monday and discussed bilateral ties, according to a Turkish presidential source. They also spoke about finding a lasting solution in Libya, stressing on its territorial integrity, sovereignty and political unity.
They discussed the rapid completion of joint projects and launching of new projects between Ankara and Rome.
Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Moammar Gadhafi after more than four decades in power.
Currently, two rival seats of power are vying for supremacy in Libya: an internationally recognized national unity government based in Tripoli, and a government supported by a legislative assembly based in the eastern city of Tobruk.
D Sabbah / Sahel-Elite – Photo: Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay (Photo: Internet)