Conte in Benghazi as Italian fishermen are released
The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio arrived in Benghazi; eastern Libya, coinciding with the release of 18 Italian fishermen who had been detained by Khalifa Haftar's forces for over three months.
The media office of Haftar's so-called General Command said the meeting between the Italian officials and Haftar went over the latest developments of political, military and economic dialogues.
Haftar, according to his forces' media office, hailed the Italian role in resolving the crisis in the country, but didn't discuss the fishermen issue, which was later announced by the Italian government.
"Welcome home", Conte later wrote on his Twitter account, using a photo of the 18 fishermen, while di Maio tweeted: "Freed fishermen."
The 18 Italian fishermen were detained in early September by a ship loyal to Haftar’s forces. They were accused of illegal fishing in Libyan waters.
Haftar’s forces tried to exchange the fishermen with four Libyans held in custody in Italy over human trafficking charges. Italian opposition has been accusing its government of diplomatic failure and urged France to intervene and secure their release from Haftar’s detention.