Italy’s government has written to the European Union asking it to ready a plan of action to deal with a possible flight of refugees from the armed conflict in Libya, Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero said on Wednesday.
Moavero was speaking at a joint news conference in Rome after talks with the U.N. envoy on Libya, Ghassan Salame.
He also said that the European Union was working on developing a Europe-wide initiative for the country, as the bloc fears the emergence of fresh terrorist activities.
Moavero said the situation in Libya required a lot of “time and support.”
Salame said that contacts had been established and he hoped to see results before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins in early May.
“I hope that the contacts we have established or re-established among the two belligerents can bear fruit before the holy month of Ramadan,” Salame told a news conference.
Salame, visiting Rome to enlist support from Libya’s former colonial power for a possible ceasefire, did not elaborate on the nature of the contacts with the two warring groups.
Italy, whose southern islands lie very close to the North African country’s coast, fears a mass exodus of refugees from Libya which is already a jumping-off point for boatloads of African migrants seeking to a new life in Europe.
Libya has been in a state of chaos since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 with Western intervention and the latest flare-up threatens to disrupt oil flows and leave a power vacuum that militants could exploit.