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Italian PM Claims Rifts in Libya War

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TEHRAN, July 8 (ICANA) – Cracks have appeared in the NATO-led military mission in Libya as Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi claims that he was against a military intervention in the North African country.
Friday, July 08, 2011 9:31:48 PM
Italian PM Claims Rifts in Libya War

"I was against this measure. I had my hands tied by the vote of the parliament of my country. But I was against and I am against this intervention which will end in a way that no-one knows," Berlusconi said.

Speaking at a book presentation in Rome on Thursday, the controversial Italian premier asserted that he would have supported German Chancellor Angela Merkel who decided not to engage her country in the Libya military campaign, Reuters reported on Friday.

Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said after a cabinet meeting on Thursday that Italy would pull its carrier Garibaldi with three aircraft on board out of the Libya mission and replace them with land-based aircraft.

The move comes as Italy plans to spend less on the Libya war in accordance with the country's defense spending cuts, La Russa said.

The costs of the Libya military campaign to Italy will drop from 142 million Euros (127.7 million pounds) in the first half of the year to less than 60 million Euros in the second half, the minister added.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to block the Pentagon from providing "military equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military activities, to any group or individual, not part of a country's armed forces, for the purpose of assisting that group or individual in carrying out military activities in or against Libya."

The US measure to stop aid to Libyan revolutionaries comes a week after France said it had provided the Libyan opposition forces with light arms, including rifles and rocket launchers for “self-defense.”

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