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Libya – attack on US Consulate – We must go on supporting moderate democracies, says Terzi

“We must go on supporting the consolidation of democracy in countries such as Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, which have chosen moderate leaderships”. The point was underscored by Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi in the wake of the killing, in Benghazi, of the American Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

Consolidating democracy is a priority

“Extremists have been driven into a corner, and there they must remain. They must lose what little consensus they now have. This applies especially to those groups that are markedly Jihadist in nature”, added Terzi, speaking in the margins of a conference at the Farnesina on the dictatorship in Argentina.

Minister Terzi specified that “consolidating the democracies that have emerged from the Arab Spring is a key priority. In pursuing it, we must overcome the difficulties we knew would arise and which emerged so dramatically yesterday”. These difficulties “can be overcome with courage and determination on the part of our countries to help our friends”.

Terzi–Abu Saghur talks

Terzi reported that he had spoken on the phone with the new Libyan Premier, Mustafa Abu Saghur, “a highly esteemed person who had received strong political support from numerous groups”. With Saghur, the Minister agreed that “the attack on Ambassador Stevens is a sign that work on security is a priority”. Italy’s commitment, he reiterated, is to “continue with this line of action”.

In this respect, “collaboration by the intelligence bodies and at the political level between the principal countries having significant relationships with Libya is decisive, and will bear fruit”. Collaboration between Italy and the USA on Libya “has always existed, right from the fall of Gaddafi”, added Terzi.

Abu Shagur was appointed yesterday, 12 September, by the General National Congress (Libya’s highest authority since the elections of 7 July 2012). He succeeds the head of the transition government, al-Kib Abdelrahim, with the task of leading Libya to stabilisation.

The new Prime Minister, who studied in the USA and has a PhD in electronic engineering, entered the Libyan Government as Deputy Premier in November 2011. An opponent of the Gaddafi regime, he was exiled in 1980, after which he joined the Libyan opposition’s National Front abroad. In America, he taught at the University of Rochester, New York, and at the University of Alabama. He also worked on NASA’s space programme and with the Pentagon.