NATO has entered into play after the political agreement reached by the USA, France and Great Britain, an agreement that is in line with Italy’s position. Representatives of the 28 Alliance member states are now meeting in Brussels to “translate” this new stance into a new operations command for the mission in Libya. Italy has already been given the key role of commanding the naval operations to enforce the arms embargo, which are active as of today. The operation, in which 3 Italian vessels are taking part, has been named “Operation Unified Protector".
Alliance spokesperson Oana Lungescu said that NATO has evidence and intelligence reports showing that the flow of illegal arms to Libya is continuing. She added that NATO is ready to act, if and when required. The plans are ready, but for them to be launched consensus by all 28 partners is needed and discussions are still on-going. She added that NATO hopes and trusts that Libya’s neighbouring countries will also contribute to enforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
In Italy, the Libyan situation will be the focus of a debate in Parliament. Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa will be illustrating Italy’s position to the Senate today and the Chamber tomorrow: that Italy is participating, with full title, in the international coalition operating to enforce Resolution 1973.
From Paris, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé has announced that the first meeting of the contact group on Libya will take place on Tuesday 29 March 2011 in London. Participants will include the African Union, the Arab League and the European countries involved.