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Updated: April 26, 2011 07:55 IST

Italy to provide support to air-to-ground strikes on Libya

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Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called in President Barack Obama and said that his country will provide additional military support to Operation Unified Protector by authorising air-to-ground strikes on Libyan regime targets, the White House said.

The two leaders agreed that additional pressure was necessary to strengthen the civilian protection mission, the White House said, adding Mr. Obama emphasised that the best way to ensure safety of Libyan people was for Qadhafi to leave power.

“Obama welcomed Italy’s role in hosting the next meeting of the Libya Contact Group on May 5 in Rome, where the international community will discuss how to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on the Qadhafi regime and provide additional support to the Transitional National Council,” the White House said in a statement.

During his telephonic conversation, Mr. Obama expressed his great appreciation for Italy’s many critical contributions to NATO-led coalition efforts to enforce United Nations Security Resolutions 1970 and 1973, and acknowledged Prime Minister Berlusconi’s leadership on Libya, the White House said.

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