Italy hosts Conference for Libya

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The two-day Conference for Libya opened in the southern Italian city on Monday evening "to bring substance to the stabilization process" in the north African country.

Tight security measures are implemented, with hundreds of police deployed in the streets around the major venue.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte welcomed the heads of delegations participating in the conference. All guests gathered for a working dinner after the opening ceremony of the major event, which would stretch throughout Tuesday.

The conference was organized by Rome in collaboration with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNISMIL) "to provide a tangible contribution to the stabilization process in the country," said Italian authorities.

The Conference also aims to promote "specific and substantial progress in the fields of security and economy," said the PM's office in a statement.

Thirty-eight delegations were confirmed as taking part in the talks, among which were 10 head of state and governments, and foreign ministers from 20 other countries.

Participants included Libya's four key actors: Prime Minister of UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, Head of the High State Council Khalid al-Mishri, President of the House of Representatives (HoR) Ageela Saleh, and General Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army.

International players included representatives from France, Russia, China, United States, Germany, Egypt, Turkey Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates among others, as well as from the European Union (EU), the Arab League, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

Italy's Conte met with UN Special Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salamé on the sidelines of the opening ceremony to discuss the expected outcome of the summit and to encourage a focus in the talks on "economic and security reforms" in Libya, the UNISMIL said on Twitter.

The UN envoy also briefed the Italian PM on the latest developments in Libya.

The conference in Palermo opened only few days after Salamé submitted a new transition plan that would call for elections to be held in spring 2019. The vote would be prepared by a national conference in the first weeks of next year in order for all Libyan parties to express "their vision for the transition" and decide the format of the electoral process.

After the working dinner, Conte was expected to hold talks with each of the four Libyan parties here, according to sources with the prime minister's office.

The conference will reach its crucial phase on Tuesday, with a plenary session of all heads of delegations gathered at Villa Igiea hotel.

According to the schedule, the outcome would be outlined by Conte and UN's Salamé in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

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