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Italy Backs Military Action on Libya

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TEHRAN, March 19 (ICANA) – Italy has expressed full support for plans to take military action against Libya as Italian ministers pledged their backing and a parliamentary committee voted to authorize the use of airbases and other assets.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 12:24:27 PM
Italy Backs Military Action on Libya

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who as recently as Wednesday had ruled out the military action, said Rome supported the Security Council resolution authorizing airstrikes, reported Reuters.

He further pointed out that Italy, which has some of the closest available airbases to Libya, would play its full part.

"The Italian decision is not just full support for the resolution but also the necessity of participating actively," he told a Senate committee hearing.

Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, was one of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's best friends in Europe prior to the turmoil and was the biggest foreign importer of Libyan oil.

Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said seven bases in Italy -- at Amendola, Gioia del Colle, Sigonella, Aviano, Trapani, Decimomannu and Pantelleria -- were available and some allies had already asked to use them.

Five of them are on the southern mainland or Sicily, putting them within easy striking distance of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

He also suggested that Naples, where NATO has its southern European headquarters, could be the center of operations.

He also explained that the bases would be offered "without restriction" and said Italy, which has some 3,815 troops in NATO's operation in war-torn Afghanistan, would also be able to provide other assets.

"We certainly have a strong capacity to neutralize radars of any potential adversaries," he opined.

"We can intervene in any manner, apart, of course, from any land intervention," he further said.

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