Italian Prime Minister Suggests Option for No-fly Zone in Libya Conflict

'A no-fly zone too can be an instrument for achieving a goal: the immediate cessation of hostilities,' says Giuseppe Conte

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gestures as he speaks during the end-of-year press conference on December 28, 2019 in Rome.
AFP

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday outlined the establishment of a no-fly zone as an option for resolving the Libya conflict.

"A no-fly zone too can be an instrument for achieving a goal: the immediate cessation of hostilities," Conte said in his end-of-year press conference in Rome.

Italy fully supports the initiative for a Libya conference early next year in Berlin, he added.

"There is extensive diplomatic activity on the side of Italy which is often not visible," Conte said. Libya is a former Italian colony.

The Italian leader cited conversations he'd had with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Conte had warned Erdogan against any military intervention, arguing that this would lead to many civilians casualties and that neither side was likely to win.

Like Turkey, Italy stands behind Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and his UN-backed, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Russia supports the forces of military strongman Khalifa Haftar, based in Libya's east. He has been trying for months to take over Tripoli.