With the Gaddafi regime seemingly in its last throes, the world unites in Paris to discuss Libya’s future. Given Italy’s long relationship with Libya, it is sure to play a leading role in the talks. Here, Italy’s foreign minister Franco Frattini offers his point of view: “The Italian government’s vision for the management of the post-Gadhafi transition is based on three main principles: ownership, international cohesion and long-term engagement.” Most importantly, he says, the West must not adopt a patronizing tone toward Libya.
What’s the Big Idea?
Despite accusations of neocolonialism—that the West’s interest in Libya lies primarily in its natural resources (oil)—Frattini is candid about what Europe stands to gain through the talks: “This is an opportunity that the EU and European states should waste no time in seizing, their first move being promptly to reopen their embassies in Tripoli. The EU should also do the heavy lifting when it comes to supporting the institution-building process in Libya and appoint an Ambassador/Head of Delegation who can effectively coordinate European efforts on the ground.”