Thursday 18 January 2018

Coalition splits widen as Italy rejects calls to help air campaign

Damien McElroy

Splits in the international coalition on Libya widened yesterday as Italy flatly rejected calls to contribute air power to the mission targeting Col Gaddafi's forces.

Britain and France exhorted other Nato members, including Italy, Spain and Holland, to provide warplanes and other "strike assets" amid growing fears of a military stalemate in Libya.

Only Canada, Norway, Denmark and Belgium are supporting the Anglo-French ground attack operations, which Nato estimated were at least 10 warplanes short of what was required.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary general, said he was "hopeful" that other members would do more. But a meeting of Nato ministers in Berlin ended yesterday without any firm commitments of new deployments.

Spain has rejected requests to do more, and Italy said it would not go beyond allowing Britain and France use its airbases.

"We have done enough," said Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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