The Malta Independent 5 December 2016, Monday

Italy said to be preparing an action in Libya, probably near Misurata

Saturday, 28 February 2015, 18:02 Last update: about 3 years ago

The Italian media are saying that Italy is sending ships from its Navy towards the Libyan shores.

At this point it is not yet clear whether this is just a training expedition but it would seem Italy may be preparing for a direct action in Libya.

The soldiers of the Reggimento San Marco arrived in La Spezia in the middle of the night. They crossed the sleeping city and proceeded next to the Arsenal until they arrived at a military base where they found everything prepared for action.

Yesterday too saw the arrival in La Spezia of the Nave San Giorgio, which had never been there before and which is prepared for an amphibian action.

The ship was kept rather hidden and today, after lunchtime, having taken in soldiers and equipment, it sailed.

It would seem the ship's next stop is Augusta in Sicily where it will take on reinforcements.

It would seem, from speculation in the Italian media, that the intended action will take place near Misurata where there is the Libyan end of the ENI oil pipeline which till today has been defended by an Islamic militia which it seems can no longer do so.

Some Italian media are saying the Italian troopers will land near Misurata to defend the oil pipeline instead of the Libyan Islamic militia.

Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni said Friday, "Italy is ready to do its part in Libya," but only once the United Nations (UN) has taken the initiative.

Briefing the lower house of the parliament, Gentiloni said the government was waiting for an international effort in the war-torn North African nation before acting. "Right now, the game is international," he said in comments on Middle East and global issues.

Talking about anti-terrorism in Libya, Gentiloni said: "Italy will do everything to defend its security, counteracting this barbarism."

Italy, along with the rest of Europe, has worried about gains made in Libya by armed terrorists who may use the North African country as a springboard for attacks in Europe.

On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Gentiloni and Italy's defense minister Roberta Pinotti in Rome, to talk about the issues in Libya and Ukraine. During his meeting with Stoltenberg, Gentiloni said, "Libya must be a focus of NATO," describing the stability of the North African country as "strategic" for Italy. 

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