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Friday, December 1


Friday, December 1



Libya tops agenda for Italy-Russo foreign minister talks

Photo: AP

Today, Angelino Alfano will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Rome. Solutions to the geopolitical crisis in the former Italian colony of Libya will top the agenda.

Although the number of migrants reaching Italian shores from Libya has decreased by over 80% from 2016 levels, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s government remains concerned that an unstable Libya will continue to serve as a springboard for migrants trying to reach Europe.

Drawn toward supporting General Khalifa Haftar– a rebel leader opposed to the Western-backed Government of National Accord– the Kremlin looks to play a role in the brokering of peace and the establishment of a Libyan government over which it can exert influence.

To exert its role in shaping the future of the war-torn country, expect Russia to continue to engage Italy, a more active player in the Libyan peace process. In turn, the Italians are likely to continue to press the long-term economic and domestic security implications of continued refugee flows onto Italian soil.


Ten day reprieve to salvage Palestinian reconciliation deal

Photo: AFP

Hamas had been due to handover control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA) today, but quarrelling over employment and security has delayed a full transfer of power until December 10.

In October, 13 Palestinian factions—including Hamas and Fatah—signed on to an Egyptian brokered reconciliation deal. For its part, Hamas has dissolved its Gaza administration and handed over the Egyptian border crossing to the PA, which has committed to general elections by the end of 2018.

Despite this, implementation has stalled. In October, Hamas officials prevented PA civil servants from returning to work, demanding a clear plan to incorporate the 50,000 Gazans employed by Hamas during its ten-year rule.

Further undermining the deal is control of security in the strip. A parallel security force is unacceptable to the PA, but calls for disarmament have been flatly rejected by Hamas, leaving integration the only option.

The odds are stacked against them, but if a deal is achieved, full implementation would be unlikely. Instead, an uneasy accommodation of some sort would take form.


Venezuelan talks attempt to end years of political strife

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Photo: AP/Ariana Cubillos

Today, representatives from the Venezuelan government and the opposition will meet in Santo Domingo to negotiate the nation’s future.

Following the 2014 drop in oil prices, fierce opposition has arisen to President Nicolas Maduro’s economic and social policies. The talks between the opposition and the government are a continuation of a previous meeting in September, which was cut short due to the former’s walking out. Dialogue last December was also cancelled for similar reasons. Now, the two sides look again to bring Venezuela’s internal turmoil to an end.

While Maduro’s government will seek to retain power, the opposition will likely continue their push for the release of political prisoners. Previously, negotiations, such as these, have been used by the government to stall — relieving political pressure, while intending to accomplish little. If this proves to be the case, which it likely will, another opposition walkout is probable.

DELVE DEEPER: Venezuela: on the path to authoritarian rule under Maduro.

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