Renzi rules out Libya intervention for time being

Pinotti diplomacy must move fast in North African state

(ANSA) - Rome, February 16 - Italy has no intention of launching a military intervention in Libya, despite concerns about the most recent advances made by Islamist extremists there, Premier Matteo Renzi said Monday.
    At the same time, his defense minister urged diplomats to act fast in finding a solution to the crisis there.
    Roberta Pinotti said Monday that it was "urgent that diplomacy runs quickly," over Libya.
    Heightened violence and growing boldness by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in Libya are increasing European fears, particularly in Italy which is separated by only a narrow strip of sea from the chaotic North African nation.
    Indeed, ISIS terrorists who videotaped their beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians hostages included a warning that ISIS was now "south of Rome" and no longer held to its bases in Syria and Iraq.
    In response to the tensions, Italy closed its embassy in Libya and brought back about 60 Italians early Monday.
    Still, this is no time for hasty action, Renzi said Monday.
    Libya has been in turmoil for three years and it's time the United Nations Security Council acts, Renzi said.
    "It's not the time for a military intervention," Renzi told Mediaset television. "We've been saying at every level that Libya is out of control for three years and we'll keep doing so," Renzi added.
    "The international community has all the necessary instruments to intervene if it wants to. Our proposal is to wait for the UN Security Council. "The strength of the UN is decidedly superior to that of the radical militias".
    Renzi argued that ISIS has not invaded but rather, extremists groups already in Libya have affiliated with ISIS.
    "Wisdom, prudence and a sense of the situation is needed with regards to Libya," Renzi said.
    "But you cannot go from total indifference to hysteria".
    That followed suggestions Friday by his Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni that Italy would participate if the United Nations were to coordinate military action.
    Meanwhile, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Monday called a meeting of ministry officials to discuss immigration and terrorism issues related to rising tensions in Libya. At the same time, Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni pleaded for Western military strikes against ISIS to stop it and other extremist Islamist groups. "I ask world powers to stand by Libya and launch military strikes against these groups," Thinni said in an interview with Reuters. "This threat will move to European countries, especially Italy".
    Egypt did launch strikes on Monday on ISIS targets in Libya which Renzi discussed in a telephone conversation earlier in the day with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
    At the same time, Pope Francis expressed his horror at the latest ISIS executions. "They were murdered just for the fact they were Christians," Francis said, speaking in Spanish to an ecumenical delegation from the Church of Scotland.
    "The blood of our Christian brothers is a witness that cries out". Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), said he was opposed to military intervention in Libya. Grillo also speculated on the possible involvement of "Western secret services" in the killing of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
    "Even the beheadings of ISIS fade when compared to the killing of Gaddafi," said Grillo.


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