Italy suspends treaty with Libya

Rome, Feb 27 (AP) Italy has effectively suspended atreaty with Libya that includes a nonaggression clause, amidturmoil in the North African nation, the foreign minister saidtoday.

The suspension removes a possible obstacle to Rometaking part in any peacekeeping operations in its formercolony, or allowing the use of its military bases.

"We signed the friendship treaty with a state, butwhen the counterpart no longer exists, in this case the Libyanstate, the treaty cannot be applied," Foreign Minister FrancoFrattini said in comments to Sky Italia.

"The de facto suspension of this treaty, even withoutdeclaring it, is already a reality."In 2008, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and ItalianPremier Silvio Berlusconi signed the friendship treaty thatincluded a pledge by Rome to pay Libya USD 5 billion ascompensation for its 30-year colonial rule.

Libya in return promised to help Italy crack down onillegal immigrants.

One of the provisions in the treaty states that theparties commit themselves "not to resort to threatening orusing violence."Another provision included a pledge by Italy neitherto use nor allow others to use its territory in any hostileact against Libya.

There are several US and NATO bases in Italy, and theUS 6th Fleet is based near Naples. After the treaty wassigned, NATO sought clarification from Rome, and Frattini hadto reassure allies at the time that multilateral internationaltreaties that Rome was party to would stand. (AP)

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