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Sources: Italy's Meloni travels to Libya for gas negotiations

Published January 27,2023

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is scheduled to travel to Libya on Saturday to conclude a deal expanding oil and gas supplies, sources in the Libyan Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

According to the sources, a high-ranking Italian delegation which includes Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi will accompany the premier.

Both sides are to discuss a possible contract between the Italian energy company Eni and the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Libya, the sources said.

"In the event of an agreement, both sides would also enter into a contract," the sources added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Italian daily La Repubblica reported that the deal would see Libya double its future deliveries to Italy.

Last weekend, Italy had expanded its partnership with Algeria in the search for alternatives to Russian oil and gas, with Meloni flying to Algiers.

Meloni is also due to meet with Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, according to La Repubblica.

Meloni, of the far right, is calling for Rome and the whole European Union to work more closely with Libya to stop migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Libya has been in turmoil since long-time ruler Moamer Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 and has become a battleground for rival proxy forces, drawing in foreign powers.

Human traffickers are taking advantage of the chaos and political instability in the country.