ROME (AP) — Italy's premier says two Italian fishing vessels seized by Libyan forces earlier this week are returning home.

The self-styled Libyan National Army had announced it had seized the vessels in Libyan territorial waters and brought them to the port of Ras al-Hilal.

In a tweet Friday, Premier Giuseppe Conte said the boats "are returning to Italy." He wrote: "Our citizens can finally come home. We never left them alone and we worked constantly to resolve the situation."

The Libyan National Army, headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, is loyal to the government that controls much of eastern Libya.

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Libya is a former colony of Italy, which has tried to work with Libyan leaders including Hifter to restore stability and stem the flow of migrants through the North African country.