Libya disputed government signs immigration, energy deals with Italy’s hard-right PM Meloni

Libya disputed government signs immigration, energy deals with Italy’s hard-right PM Meloni
A Libyan delegation headed by disputed PM Abdulhamid Al-Dbeibah signed an agreement with Italy including the fields of 'oil and natural gas' and 'immigration and border protection'.
2 min read
08 June, 2023
Meloni and Dbeibah (centre) signed deals on immigration control and energy in Rome [Mahmud Turkia/AFP via Getty]

The head of Libya’s disputed Government of National Unity (GNU) met with Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Georgia Meloni in Rome on Wednesday, with delegations from the two countries signing a wide-ranging agreement covering issues such as immigration and energy.

Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah headed a delegation that agreed a memorandum of understanding in the fields of "oil and natural gas" and in "immigration and border protection", among others, the GNU said in a statement.

"Topics of dialogue included intensifying efforts to combat human trafficking… and the commitment to manage migration," Meloni said on Twitter.

The two also discussed reopening Italian airspace to Libyan civil carriers, and granting visas to Italy for Libyan citizens, according to the GNU statement.

Meloni has taken a zero-tolerance stance on migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean from the shores of North African countries, including Libya. She has met with officials from North African states to discuss immigration on multiple occasions since becoming Italy's prime minister in October 2022.

Her trip to Tunisia this week was met with protests.

Libyan authorities have been accused of committing grave human rights violations towards migrants and refugees, particularly those from sub-Saharan Africa.

Like many other states, Italy has scrambled to find alternative sources of energy since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It has signed deals with Libya’s neighbour Algeria, among other countries.

Dbeibah's visit to Italy came as his government and rival eastern Libya based authorities agreed Wednesday on terms for a long-delayed election as part of a UN-directed peace roadmap for the country.

Libya has seen increasingly complex conflict between rival militias since the ousting of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.