Sunday

21st Jan 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.

EU seeks to extend Morocco fish deal, despite legal opinion

An EU court advisor says an EU fish deal with Rabat should be scrapped due to the Morocco-annexed territory of the Western Sahara. The fisheries agreement is set to expire in July but the European Commission want to renew it.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia