The President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, and the Government have reiterated that the command of the operations in Libya must be transferred to NATO. The Quirinal Palace, the President’s official residence, has issued a communiqué on the Head of State’s meeting with the American Parliamentary delegation led by Nancy Pelosi. It states that the President reiterated “the vital need, supported by Italy in full accord with the United States, United Kingdom and other allies, for a unified command” and observed that NATO is by far the most appropriate solution.In calling for the utmost clarity, coherence and effectiveness in taking forward the action on Libya, the Head of State recalled the Supreme Defence Council’s conclusions of 9 March. He pointed out that the intervention, in which Italy is playing a full role, is based on the provisions of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. These are intended to ensure a response, including a military one, to any breach of or threat to international peace and security. The need to transfer the command of the coalition operations to NATO was also reiterated by Minister Frattini and Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa. “It’s a question of responsibility; this is a highly political matter”, said Frattini. “We cannot imagine a situation where separate commands are operating, with certain decisions depending on each of them”. La Russa, for his part, said that the Government remains “very firm” on its call for the command of operations in Libya to be transferred to NATO.
In the meantime, in Brussels, the Atlantic Council has established that NATO will enforce the arms embargo against Libya as envisaged by UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The decision was announced by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who added that plans are now complete for possible NATO involvement in enforcing the no-fly zone.
“All Allies are committed to meet their responsibilities under the United Nations resolution to stop the intolerable violence against Libyan civilians”, said Rasmussen. The arms embargo will be enforced using ships and aircraft which will “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict, vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries”.