Salvini: France is undermining the Libyan peace process

France is playing with war when hindering the Libyan peace process by putting its economic and trade interests first, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Thursday.

Italy has information that France is “supporting one of the sides fighting in Libya,” Salvini said in a radio interview, adding that as Minister of Interior he cannot stand by idly. “We are examining the issue, but the signs are unmistakeable.”

“It would be very serious if it were confirmed that France is blocking the European Union’s peace initiative in Libya for its own economic and commercial interests. If someone is playing with war for its own benefit, they have found the wrong government in us and the wrong minister in my person.”

He said there is a wide consensus that when France launched its intervention against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 – sanctioned by then President Nicolas Sarkozy – it did so not for humanitarian, but for economic and commercial reasons.

He said he wouldn’t like a repetition of the same scenario, whereby Italy suffers the results of the Libyan conflict.

Rome and Paris have for some time been competing for a lead role in the Libyan peace process – both France and Italy hosted a series of peace conferences and are in regular contact with the main protagonists of the conflict.

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