Italy denies calling for delaying Libyan elections.


Italy on Thursday denied that its ambassador to Libya had called for postponement of the presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya.
The denial came shortly after the eastern-based Libyan parliament denounced the alleged remarks by Italian Ambassador to Libya Giuseppe Perrone during a recent interview with a local TV channel.
“The Italian Embassy in Tripoli notes that Ambassador Perrone never asked for delaying elections in Libya in his Aug. 4 interview with the TV network Libya’s Channel,” the embassy said in a statement.
On Aug. 4, Perrone said in the TV interview that holding elections in Libya before the end of 2018 is not possible as Rome does not advocate it, sparking resentment and protests in some Libyan cities.
Earlier in the day, Libya’s eastern-based House of Representatives demanded that Italy replace its ambassador after Perrone’s improper remarks on Libyan elections.
The Committee of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the eastern-based parliament warned that Perrone’s remarks “will have bad effects on the Libyan-Italian relations on both government and popular levels.”
The UN-backed Libyan government on Tuesday told a press conference in the capital Tripoli that the date of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections is decided by the Libyans only.
In May, France hosted a meeting with the participation of different Libyan parties to end the political crisis, where they agreed to commit themselves to holding credible presidential and parliamentary elections slated for Dec. 10.
Despite a UN-sponsored political agreement signed in December 2015, Libya remains politically divided between rival governments in the east and west of the country, both competing for legitimacy.

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