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Italy announces diplomats' meeting to end chaos in Libya

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Italy announces diplomats' meeting to end chaos in Libya
Italian Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, has said foreign ministers will meet in Vienna to try and resolve the chaos in Libya. Photo: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP
14:56 CEST+02:00
Top diplomats will hold talks in Vienna this month aimed at supporting efforts to end the chaos in Libya, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Monday.

On a visit to Tunisia, Gentiloni said he had invited Tunis to join foreign ministers from "the most important countries in the region as well as the main international actors" for talks on Libya due in the Austrian capital later in May.
   
"A common effort is needed to help the process of bringing stability to Libya," Gentiloni told reporters, adding the invitation had been extended in his name and on behalf of US Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
 A member of the Italian delegation said the meeting would take place on May16th.
   
The Tunisian foreign ministry confirmed the date, adding it had not yet accepted the invitation.
   
Foreign powers and Libya's neighbours are supporting efforts by a new unity government to assert its authority in the country, which has been roiled by turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi.
   
Rival forces are vying for control of Libya, with Western nations particularly worried by the rise of a powerful local branch of the jihadist group Isis.
   
Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, hosted a previous round of international talks on the country at the end of 2015.
   
"Tunisia and Italy are very interested, for historic, political and geographic reasons, in resolving the crisis in Libya," Gentiloni said, expressing support for the unity government led by prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj.
   
"We have a common point of view which is backing the government led by Sarraj," he said at a joint appearance with Tunisian counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui.
   
He said Rome and Tunis were fighting a "common battle" against Isis including on border controls and "cooperation at all levels in order to ensure the defeat of the terrorist threat".
   
Tunisia has been hit by a string of Isis-claimed attacks including a deadly assault in March on the border town of Ben Guerdane. Last year Isis attacks which authorities said were planned in Libya claimed the lives of dozens of holidaymakers, damaging Tunisia's tourism industry.

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