By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 2 May 2016:
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has said that his government had resisted military involvement in . . .[restrict]Libya after coming under pressure from sources which he did not name.
“For months there was pressure, some would say lobbying” Renzi said today in Florence adding, according to the Italian news agency ANSAMed, “ Now it is fashionable to say ‘Go, intervene, send in the planes, send 5,000 people to Libya”.
He insisted however that his government had chosen a different strategy. Italy already had troops in Afghanistan and the Iraqi city of Mosul. They were there, he said, to save lives and he was grateful to them.
The Italian government has at times appeared divided on military intervention, with Renzi’s January, as it became clear that the prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj’s Government of National Accord would not receive the imminent endorsement of the House of Representatives Pinotti said that the international community might have to attack IS forces in Libya, without a formal invitation from the Libyan government in waiting.
However last month, Renzi denied rumours that Italy was about to commit 5,000 troops to Libya, saying it would never happen as long as he was prime minister.
Though Renzi did not spell out the source of the pressure and lobbying, it seems likely that the Americans will have been involved. Washington has been trying to get the Europeans to take the lead in Libya. But politicians, particularly the British and French have been blowing hot and cold over military intervention. In addition, commanders are reportedly leery of ill-defined missions.
The one clear commitments have been to train Libyan police and army. Until now however, the only training that has been taking place has been of two Tunisian mechanised units. A small contingent of British troops has been advising these soldiers on patrolling and monitoring the border with Libya. [/restrict]