Tag Archives: Libya

Migration Policy and Management under the “Conte 1” Government

The fight against “irregular” migration to Italy featured prominently in the election manifesto of the Lega (League – a right-wing political party) and was incorporated in the coalition agreement concluded between the two governing parties after the 4 March 2018 general election, namely the League and the Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement). Accordingly, on 5 June 2018, the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr Giuseppe Conte, outlined the approach on migration of the newly formed Italian Government during his first speech before the Senate of the Republic (9th Meeting, XVIII Legislature):

It is clear to everyone that the management of migratory flows as implemented to date has failed. Europe allowed – we must emphasize it – selfish positions by Member States, which ended up placing the burden, which should have been shared, on border States, first and foremost on Italy. That is why we will vigorously demand to go beyond the Dublin Regulation, so as to ensure actual compliance with the principle of equitable responsibility-sharing and implement automatic mechanisms for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers. […]

We want asylum procedures to be well-established and swift, also with a view to more effectively ensuring that the rights [of asylum seekers] are guaranteed and that they do not live in uncertainty. […]

We must also re-organize the reception system and make it efficient with a view to ensuring the transparent use of public funds and preventing any infiltration by organized crime. Should there be no grounds for the stay [of migrants in Italy], we will take action to make repatriation procedures effective and, at the European level, to compel third States willing to conclude cooperation agreements with any EU Member States to ratify bilateral agreements for the management of migratory flows.

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The Illegal Trafficking in Crude Oil and Petroleum Products from Libya and the Relationship Between Italy and Malta

Control over oil resources has been a key factor in the situation of civil war and political turmoil that has affected Libya in this decade.[1] Already in 2011, a turning point in the struggle against the Qhadafi Government took place when the insurgents of the Transitional National Council proved that, by controlling the eastern ports of Brega and Ras Lanuf, they were able to trade in oil with foreign corporations.[2] In the ensuing period, and especially between 2014 and 2018, the competition between rival governments was constantly mirrored by the struggle to gain control over oil resources and, most notably, over the National Oil Corporation (NOC).[3] In 2014, in a paradoxical twist of history, the stability of the revolutionary government that had ousted Qhadafi was seriously put into question when a group of “Petroleum Facilities Guards”, led by a Ibrahim Jadhran, came to control the same eastern ports that had been instrumental to the demise of the previous ruler.[4] A stateless tanker was able to leave port against the will of the Tripoli Government and was subsequently inspected, seized on the high seas, and brought back to port in Libya by an operation of the US Navy.[5] In 2015, the House of Representatives of Tobruk attempted to establish a new National Oil Corporation with headquarters in eastern Libya claiming that the NOC based in Tripoli had no legitimacy and that new contracts had to be negotiated with the eastern NOC.[6] The initiative had little success as the NOC and the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli remained the sole official interlocutors of the international corporations operating in Libya.[7] However, the situation of uncertainty with respect to control over the main oil fields of the country persisted.[8] In July 2018, when the Libyan National Army (LNA) of General Khalifa Haftar took control of the eastern oil fields, attempts to sell oil through the eastern-based oil corporation started again, allegedly with the assistance of the United Arab Emirates.[9] This prompted a reaction by the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Italy, which is commented upon here below.

Repeated attempts to illicitly export oil from Libya were condemned by the UN Security Council, which clearly supported the position of the GNA. With Resolution 2146 (2014) the Council requested that the GNA contact the Sanctions Committee previously established by Resolution 1970 (2011) “to inform the Committee of any vessels transporting crude oil illicitly exported from Libya”.[10] The Resolution then authorized Member States, after seeking consent by the vessel’s flag State, “to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances […] to […] direct the vessel to take appropriate actions to return the crude oil, with the consent of and in coordination with the Government of Libya, to Libya”.[11] Moreover, it was made clear that all Member States were under an obligation to “take the necessary measures to require their nationals and entities and individuals in their territory not to engage in any financial transactions with respect to such crude oil from Libya aboard vessels designated by the Committee”.[12] Subsequently, Resolution 2174 (2014) expanded the reasons for listing individuals and entities in the sanctions lists mentioning explicitly those “providing support for armed groups or criminal networks through the illicit exploitation of crude oil or any other natural resources in Libya”.[13] Resolution 2362 (2017) expanded the applicability of the measures adopted with Resolution 2146 (2014) to petroleum, including crude oil and refined petroleum products. In a number of resolutions, the Security Council reiterated that the resources of Libya must remain under the sole control and authority of the GNA and the NOC of Tripoli.[14]

Within this context, the position of the Italian Government has consistently supported the GNA by affirming clearly that the right to control and administer the oil resources of the country pertained exclusively to the NOC. During the course of 2018, Italy participated in the adoption of two joint statements (together with France, the United Kingdom and the United States) dealing directly with the issue of control over Libyan oil resources.

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Italy’s Involvement in Post-Conflict Lybia through the Lybian Coast Guard Training Mission

Post-conflict Libya has been riven by internal conflict, institutional, political and social instability as well as a grave humanitarian crisis. The achievement of stability in Libya has been of concern to the international community, in particular in light of the serious consequences of internal conflict and fragmentation on, inter alia, the fight against terrorism and the Islamic State, as well as against human trafficking and migrant smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea[1].

Historically a prominent international actor in the country, Italy has strongly supported the Government of National Accord, formed under the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirat, Morocco, on 17 December 2015[2], and endorsed by the United Nations (UN) Security Council as the sole legitimate executive authority in Libya[3]. On 8 May 2017, during a briefing at the UN Security Council on the situation in Libya (7934th Meeting)[4], the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, declared:

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The 2016 Practice of Italy on Arms Exports

During 2016, the Italian Government was often questioned before the Parliament about arms exports from Italy to countries where either a conflict was occurring or international norms were being violated. The statements by the different members of the Government highlighted a heterogeneous practice, contingent upon different variables, some of which related to the presence of international measures and others to political considerations of the Government itself.

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The Legal Requirements for Military Intervention and for Humanitarian Assistance in Libya

The situation in Libya was of great concern for the Italian Government during 2016. The instability of the African country and the risk of increased terrorist activities on Libyan soil carried a significant weight in the reports of the Italian executive in front of the Parliament. Within these issues, the parliamentary practice of Italy highlighted three strictly intertwined legal questions, namely the requirements for military intervention and for humanitarian assistance in Libya, as well as the boundaries of the concept of self-defence. It should not come as a surprise that in this case, during 2016, migration issues played a relatively minor role with respect to security concerns. One might take the view that the stability of the State and the need of having an effective government can be seen as preconditions for tackling the root causes of migration. Speaking about the requirements for intervening militarily in Libya the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, affirmed the need of obtaining a formal request from the legitimate government. On 9 March 2016, in front of the Chamber of Deputies (586th Meeting, XVII Legislature) he stated the following:

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The Minister of Defence, Ms. Roberta Pinotti, on the involvement of Italy in the US operations against ISIS in Libya

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 667th MEETING, 3 AUGUST 2016.

On 3 August 2016, the Minister of Defence, Ms. Roberta Pinotti, answering a parliamentary question on the alleged involvement of Italy in the US air operations against ISIS in Libya, stated:

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defence on the Italian contribution to the fight against ISIL/Daesh

JOINT COMMISSIONS III AND IV OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES AND 3rd AND 4th OF THE SENATE (FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE), XVII LEGISLATURE, 21st MEETING, 6 OCTOBER 2015.

On 6 October 2015, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, and the Minister of Defence, Ms Roberta Pinotti, delivered two statements before the Joint Commissions of Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Parliament. Mr Gentiloni started by illustrating the foreign policy of Italy with particular regard to the Mediterranean and Middle East areas. In this context, he recalled the role played by Italy in the fight against ISIL/Daesh. He stated:

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A Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, on the Italian Presidency of the EU

III COMMISSION OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES AND THIRD COMMISSION OF THE SENATE, XVII LEGISLATURE, 11th MEETING, 3 JULY 2014.

On 3 July 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, delivered a speech before the III Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and the 3rd Commission of the Senate on the recent foreign policy developments in relation to the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

The Minister highlighted the importance of a new chapter in the European foreign policy, which Italy will try to initiate during its Presidency and is expected to further continue under the Presidency of Luxembourg and then of Latvia. Priority has to be accorded to foreign policy measures that enhance relations with Eastern and Southern countries. Furthermore, other global topics and scenarios will be the subject of specific strategies. The Italian Presidency will focus on Asia, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and Northern Africa, including Libya, and continue monitoring crises areas.

As to Ukraine, the Minister said:

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Government’s Report on Italian Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Operations

SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, XVI LEGISLATURE, JOINT MEETING OF THE 3rd COMMISSION (FOREIGN AFFAIRS) AND THE 4th COMMISSION (DEFENCE) OF THE SENATE WITH THE 3rd COMMISSION (FOREIGN AFFAIRS) AND THE 4th COMMISSION (DEFENCE) OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, 13th MEETING, 16 JANUARY 2013.

On 16 January 2013, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Terzi di Sant’Agata, reported before the Parliament on the situation of Italian peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. The Minister commented upon the outbreak of a new round of hostilities in Mali, the situation in Libya and in Syria and considered the role of Italian missions in those countries. Here follow some excerpts from the Minister’s speech:

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A Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Grounds for Italy’s Consent to a Military Action in Libya

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVI LEGISLATURE, 450th MEETING, 16 MARCH 2011 – QUESTION TIME.

On 16 March 2011, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Franco Frattini, replied to a Parliamentary question concerning the situation in Libya. Having described Italy’s key political and humanitarian role in the crisis, the Minister explained the conditions determining the consent to a military action in Libya. He stated:

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