Europe

Italian FM arrives in Libya in boost to UN-backed government

  • The deputy head of the Libyan Presidential Council, Ahmed Maiteeq, second left, speaks during a news conference with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, right, in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Gentiloni arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday, marking the first visit by a European official to Libya since the head of a U.N.-backed unity government took up residence in the capital. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa)

    The deputy head of the Libyan Presidential Council, Ahmed Maiteeq, second left, speaks during a news conference with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, right, in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Gentiloni arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday, marking the first visit by a European official to Libya since the head of a U.N.-backed unity government took up residence in the capital. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, right, speaks during a news conference with Ahmed Maiteeq deputy head of the Libyan Presidential Council, in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Gentiloni arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday, marking the first visit by a European official to Libya since the head of a U.N.-backed unity government took up residence in the capital. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa)

    Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, right, speaks during a news conference with Ahmed Maiteeq deputy head of the Libyan Presidential Council, in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Gentiloni arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday, marking the first visit by a European official to Libya since the head of a U.N.-backed unity government took up residence in the capital. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni speaks during a news conference with Ahmed Maiteeq, deputy head of the Libyan Presidential Council, in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Gentiloni arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday, marking the first visit by a European official to Libya since the head of a U.N.-backed unity government took up residence in the capital. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa)

    Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni speaks during a news conference with Ahmed Maiteeq, deputy head of the Libyan Presidential Council, in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Gentiloni arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday, marking the first visit by a European official to Libya since the head of a U.N.-backed unity government took up residence in the capital. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa)  (The Associated Press)

Italy's foreign minister has arrived in Tripoli, marking the first visit by a European official to Libya since a U.N.-backed government convened in the capital.

Libyan officials say Paolo Gentiloni was received at Matiga airport on Tuesday by deputies of Fayez Serraj, the head of a unity government that Western countries hope can unite Libya and combat a powerful Islamic State affiliate. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Gentiloni is scheduled to meet with Serraj, who arrived in Tripoli on March 30 by sea after he was prevented from landing at the airport by a rival government backed by Islamists. That government resigned a week later.

A third rival government is based in Libya's far east.