Italy freezes treaty with Libya, concludes evacuation of all its citizens

February 28, 2011 12:07 pm 

ROME, Feb. 28 — Italy's evacuation of all its citizens living in Libya was concluded on Sunday as the Italian government has decided to suspend the bilateral Friendship Treaty following the violence outbreak in the North African country.

Among the last 146 Italians evacuated, 121 were transported by a warship, and 25 others by plane from the troublesome areas.

The naval ship also carried 137 foreigners who had been trapped in Libya.

So far, a total of 1,500 Italian citizens have been safely evacuated following the flaring-up of the unrest in Libya.

Italy is now cooperating with other countries to pull out their citizens, state television Rai reported.

In another development, the degeneration of violence in Libya has forced the Italian government to suspend the application of the Friendship Treaty with Libya, signed in 2008 by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, which opened a privileged cooperation between the two countries in trade and fight against illegal immigration.

Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said: "Treaty is suspended, …does not exist anymore."

"A treaty is not signed with a single person or government, but with a state and we hope that in the future there will be a Libyan state able to abide by and respect the agreement," he explained.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi also said in a phone conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Italy was ready to cooperate for a "peaceful and rapid solution to the Libyan crisis" under the UN supervision.

The Italian government is also discussing the possible use of its military bases located in the south for future humanitarian operations in Libya. (PNA/Xinhua)

DCT/FFC/ebp

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