Friday

27th Apr 2018

Italy voices cautious approach to chaos in Libya

  • (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Italy on Monday (16 February) ruled out military intervention in Libya to help restore order as armed militants from the Islamic state expand their presence in the oil-rich country.

“We are following events closely and with concern but there is no need to jump from total indifference to hysteria and an unreasonable reaction,” Italian PM Matteo Renzi told TG5 television in an interview.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Islamic state fighters beheaded 21 Egyptian christians (Photo: BRC)

Calls for Rome to lead a coalition of 5,000 ground troops were floated by Italy’s defence minister Roberta Pinotti.

Foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni had also said Italy was ready to fight as part of a larger international effort to contain the violence in the near lawless country should UN-led diplomatic efforts fail.

Similar comments were made by interior minister Angelino Alfano who told La Repubblica newspaper that Italy needs to intervene with an UN-backed mission of peacekeeping forces after Isis fighters over the weekend released video showing the decapitation of 21 Egyptian Christian workers.

“There is not a minute to lose. We have to intervene in Libya with a UN mission. The international community must understand that it is crucial for the future of the West,” he said.

But Renzi, in a telephone call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, agreed to pursue diplomatic efforts after Egypt launched retaliation airstrikes against the militants in Libya on Monday.

The strikes reportedly killed 64 Isis fighters, including three from the leadership, in the coastal cities of Derna and Sirte.

A loose coalition of militias vying for power with the rival government in Tripoli has helped, in part, to create the space for criminal organisations like the Islamic state and human smuggling networks to operate.

Islamic militant factions in the east and south of the country have reportedly pledged their allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi with battles raging between government forces and jihadist fighters in Libya’s second largest city Benghazi.

The UN refugee agency says the fighting in the city since last May has displaced over 100,000 people.

EU leaders at summit in Brussels last week have also ruled out any military intervention, opting instead for a political solution to a conflict that kicked off when dictator Moammar Gadhafi was ousted in 2011.

They noted, in a joint-statement, that the evidence of increased activity of terrorist and extremist groups pose a threat “to the future stability of the country, region and the EU”.

Located on the northern edge of the African coastline, Libya is around 300 km from Italy and has become the launch pad for ten of thousands of migrants seeking refuge and asylum in Europe.

Many are fleeing persecution, war, and poverty from Syria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other parts of Africa.

The mass exodus has seen a recent surge of Italian-led rescue operations at sea with over 2,000 scooped up from a large dinghies in the past few days.

Last week, over 330 drowned in bad weather, sparking calls for EU member states to contribute more to the Italian-led rescue operations.

In 2014, around 218,000 people crossed the Mediterranean. Around 3,500 lives were lost in the effort.

EU to revise relations with turbulent neighbourhood

A decade after launching it, the EU is trying to bring new life to its Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which has been rendered largely irrelevant by developments in Ukraine and around the Mediterranean.

Interview

Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs

The EU should not share out military HQs for political reasons if it wants effective armed forces, Italy's former defence chief tells EUobserver.

Feature

Spain makes bid for EU naval HQ

Spanish special forces seized a boat from African 'pirates' as diplomats watched on Monday, in a drill marking Spain's bid to grab a top EU military mission from the UK.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  2. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  3. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  6. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  7. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  9. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  10. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  11. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  12. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off

Latest News

  1. EU tells platforms to sort fake news by October or face new law
  2. Civil society chief: social media can't replace engagement
  3. The reality behind the €7 'Brexit bombshell visa'
  4. Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget
  5. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  6. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  7. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs
  8. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work