Italy, represented by the leader of the Government, Silvio Berlusconi, is taking part in the EU summit, its position strengthened by the vote in Parliament. The vote was the result of “an important convergence”, as defined by the Head of State, Giorgio Napolitano, and as Minister Frattini urged in his speech to the Chamber of Deputies.
“The action is being conducted in close coordination with our international partners. For us to be divided, when we agree on the fundamental points of the intervention in Libya, would weaken the country”, said Frattini. “It would not display the necessary solidarity towards those who are bearing the Italian flag in difficult theatres of action”. And so the Minister was able to announce, in the Government’s name, the favourable opinion of both majority and opposition on the UN resolutions on the mission in Libya.
Minister Frattini went into some detail on Italy’s participation in the international coalition’s mission under the UN Resolution. In addressing our relationship with our allies, including the Europeans, he underscored that on the crisis in Libya “the EU must grasp the challenge of credibility, mediation and results […] Multilateralism cannot be merely a proclamation” and Italy will also reject an overly narrow approach. The Minister went on to say that Italy “will continue to play a key role in providing humanitarian aid in Libya. […] We want to prevent a bloody war in which a regime attacks its own people, and we want to bring help to those at the mercy of an indiscriminate battle offensive”. “Force, the law and the power of protection that the UN espouses in its Charter are therefore necessary”.
In Brussels, NATO’s discussion of the roles to be assigned in commanding the military operations in Libya are proceeding in a constructive spirit. This morning (24 March 2011) the member countries’ military experts met at NATO headquarters to continue their work on the military plans for the no-fly zone over Libya. In the afternoon talks returned to the political level, with the Atlantic Council meeting to resolve questions relating to operations command.
In his address to the Chamber of Deputies, the Italian Defence Minister, Ignazio La Russa, said he felt that an agreement could soon be reached on NATO taking responsibility for the no-fly zone.
“Questions concerning the political and strategic direction are still being defined”, added La Russa, “as is the resulting command and control structure for the civilian protection operations now under way (also known as ‘no-fly zone plus’), which also envisage direct action”. At present, “the US is leading the coalition and for this type of operation Italy firmly hopes to see a significant involvement by the Atlantic Alliance, which will be able to provide a clear and agreed lead”.
Turning to Libya’s future, Minister Frattini stated: “We don’t want Libya to be divided in two. That would not be in the interests of the Libyan people”.