Italy says end of Gaddafi rule is inevitable

ROME Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:13pm IST

A Shiite Muslim supporter of Majlis e Wahdat e Islami holds up a poster depicting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as he marches with others in support of the people of Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen during a rally in Karachi February 27, 2011. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

A Shiite Muslim supporter of Majlis e Wahdat e Islami holds up a poster depicting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as he marches with others in support of the people of Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen during a rally in Karachi February 27, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

Related Topics

ROME (Reuters) - The end of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's rule is "inevitable", the foreign minister of Italy, his closest European ally, said on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also said a friendship and cooperation treaty between Libya and Italy was "de facto suspended".

"We have reached, I believe, a point of no return," Frattini told Sky Italia television. Asked whether Gaddafi should leave power, he said: "It is inevitable for this to happen.

Frattini said a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions in the form of travel bans and asset freezes on Gaddafi and his family was an important turning point.

"It allows us to say that the international community is firmly convinced that the regime cannot, in any way, keep carrying out these acts that have caused the death of thousands and thousands of innocent people," he said.

Asked whether the idea of a no-fly zone to defend rebel enclaves from Gaddafi's forces was still on the table, Frattini said: "It is a very important option, for example to prevent retaliation through aerial bombings.

"It is an option that would truly lead to an escalation, with an intervention that would be also a military one in Libya, and this is why more time to think it through is needed."

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government had initially hesitated to condemn violence in Libya, a former Italian colony with which Rome has close business ties.

Berlusconi, who rolled out the red carpet for Gaddafi on several visits to Rome over the past two years, drew fire from the opposition last week for saying he did not want to "disturb" the Libyan leader in the middle of the revolt.

However, Italy has gradually raised its voice in recent days and Frattini's comments were the clearest indication yet that Rome no longer stood by Gaddafi.

The fallout for Italy of the bloody uprising in Libya could be heavy.

Libya supplies around 25 percent of Italy's oil needs and 12 percent of its gas imports. Its sovereign wealth fund has stakes in Italy's biggest bank UniCredit and other companies, and Italy's oil and gas major ENI is the biggest operator in Libya.

Gaddafi was also instrumental in helping Italy stop illegal immigrants trying to reach its shores, and Rome now fears an exodus of up to 300,000 people fleeing the violence.

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

School Shooting

School Shooting

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting.  Full Article 

Mideast Crisis

Mideast Crisis

Kurds reject Erdogan report of deal with Syrian rebels to aid besieged Kobani.  Full Article 

Canada Shooting

Canada Shooting

Canada vows tougher laws as citizens worry in face of attacks.  Full Article 

"Unilateral Diktat"

"Unilateral Diktat"

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order.  Full Article 

Nuclear Threat

Nuclear Threat

U.S. general says he believes N. Korea can build nuclear warhead.  Full Article 

Hatchet Attack

Hatchet Attack

NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism.  Full Article 

Bollywood World

Bollywood World

Read stories and reviews Bollywood films.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage