Italy Denies Reports of Secret Deal With Libya on Terrorists
Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi’s office Friday denied newspaper and radio reports that Italy and Libya had a secret agreement during the 1970s to spare Italian citizens from attack in exchange for allowing Libyan-sponsored terrorists to travel freely.
“These claims are without any foundation and contrast sharply with the Italian government’s consistent and uncompromising fight against terrorism,” a statement from Craxi’s office said.
The report, attributed to U.S. officials, appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on National Public Radio. It also said France had entered into a similar secret deal with Libya. The Times said that those deals have since collapsed.
Craxi’s statement said Italy had brought more national and international terrorists to justice than any other European country and Italian security forces had managed to anticipate and prevent many planned terrorist attacks.
Italy was also among the first countries to press for greater international collaboration against terrorism and the political isolation of supporters of subversive organizations, it said.
“The very fact that Italy has been so tragically struck by numerous bloody attacks shows the complete inconsistency of any such claimed agreement, which should have been able to guarantee our country’s immunity,” the statement said.
The Times, quoting U.S. officials, said the Reagan Administration discovered the secret deals last year when it tried to bring the Europeans into an effort to pressure Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.