Rival Libyan leaders meet for first time since May

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrives for a Libya conference in Palermo Italy Monday Nov. 12 2018. Representatives of Libya's quarrelling factions and of countries keen on stabilizing the North African nation started meetings in Sicily Monday

Rival Libyan leaders meet for first time since May

Other critics said that Rome had invited too may guests and that it did not take into consideration the balance of power on the ground in Libya, as well as the severe tensions between various figures, which may lead to the conference's failure. Contrarily, the talks at conference were majorly centric to the diplomatic war between France and Italy, however the French's plan to hold Libya elections in December completely failed.

But expectations were limited, with Hiftar's camp making clear that he wasn't participating in the conference itself but rather meeting with leaders of neighbouring countries on the sidelines.

One of Salame's other meetings on conference sidelines saw him exchange views on political developments with Fayez Serraj, the prime minister of the United Nations -backed government in Tripoli and a chief rival of Hifter.

"The informal meeting held this morning was presented as a meeting among prominent protagonists of the Mediterranean region, but this is a misleading and harming stance that we strongly condemn", Oktay said in a note, as reported by Turkish news agency Anadolu.

Haftar arrived in the Sicilian capital of Palermo from his Benghazi stronghold on Monday evening after days of doubts over his crucial presence, but he snubbed the actual conference and a working dinner.

However, Turkey withdrew from the talks with "deep disappointment".

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The United States welcomes the conclusions announced by the Government of Italy following the November 12-13 conference on Libya in Palermo, which brought Libyan and global leaders together to advance our shared goal of helping Libya's institutions break their political deadlock and ensure a secure and prosperous future for all Libyans.

United Nations Special Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salamé, on Monday said violence in the North African nation had forced a postponement of the election date.

Just as in May, the key Libyan invitees are Haftar, the eastern parliament's speaker Aguila Salah, GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj and Khaled al-Mechri, speaker of a Tripoli-based upper chamber.

"Haftar is being hard as he has done several times in the past", said Paris-based Libya specialist Jalel Harchaoui.

France has been courting Haftar, who is supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which see his forces as a bulwark against Islamists.

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