Italy criticises 'intransigent' France over Libya

23rd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Italy on Wednesday said France was being "intransigent" about handing over command of military operations over Libya to NATO and condemned its recognition of the Libyan interim national council.

"We have to return to the rules with a single chain of command under NATO," Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in a speech to the Senate.

Frattini said there could be "a dialogue of national reconciliation" in Libya but only after a ceasefire had been put in place.

Foreign ministry spokesman Maurizio Massari added: "There is some resistance among NATO member states. France has been the most intransigent."

"Europe has divided. This isn't anti-French. We are talking about an important mission in which Europe has to act together to be credible," he said.

Massari also criticised France's decision earlier this month to recognise the Interim National Council (INC) as Libya's "legitimate representative."

"We are not okay with a country deciding this autonomously, without agreeing with the others," he said.

"We think it is difficult that the council can be recognised as the legitimate government for the whole of Libya," he added.

NATO nations meeting in Brussels on Wednesday offered an armada of ships and submarines to enforce an arms embargo against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, but a row over who should run the entire Libya campaign remains unsettled.

© 2011 AFP

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