Italy stands by Tripoli following attacks

Jan. 14, 2013 at 9:24 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The Italian government said it was still committed to Libyan reconstruction after Rome's consulate was attacked by militants in Benghazi.

Italian Consulate-General Guido De Sanctis was uninjured when gunmen attacked his vehicle as it pulled away from the consulate's grounds in Benghazi last weekend.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi issued a statement to the Libyan government expressing his support for the country's post-war recovery despite the attacks.

"Italy (will) maintain its convinced support for the democratic process and the Libyan authorities' efforts to boost security, not least in an effort to relaunch the Libyan economy and intensify relations between Libya and Italy," a statement from Terzi's office read.

A Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three members of his staff dead. The U.S. government conceded that elements of al-Qaida may have played a role in the attack. Stevens is said to have died from smoke inhalation.

A Libyan defense official was quoted by The Tripoli Post as saying the government was reviewing security implementation in the wake of the attacks.

"We are discussing putting in place a force that would look after diplomats," a ministry statement read. "There are also plans to protect foreigners working for foreign companies."

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