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“First of all I am very relieved that our Consul General Guido De Sanctis was able to escape danger, and was unharmed thanks to the security apparatus that protected him”. This was the first comment last night by Minister Giulio Terzi, who has been in continuous contact with the diplomatic and consular personnel in Libya and with Ambassador Giuseppe Buccino, who has kept him apprised of developments in the situation in Benghazi, where the foreign ministry’s Crisis Unit was immediately activated. The foreign minister himself has kept constant contact since the early hours with the Libyan authorities with whom contact has been frequent over recent months.

“This was an attempt “, the minister continued, “to destabilise Libya’s new institutions, which Italy condemns in the firmest possible manner while reaffirming its full support for the democratic and reform efforts launched by the Tripoli authorities, who have already assured us of their maximum commitment to ensuring that those responsible for this heinous act of terrorism are brought to justice”.

The attack took place the day after President Mgarief’s visit to Rome and the second Italo-Libyan Economic Forum, held on 10 January in a follow up to a 29 November meeting at Assolombardo in Milan – both of which events reconfirmed the two countries’ solidarity and the special nature of bilateral relations.