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'Humanitarian' cease-fire urged in Libya

'Humanitarian' cease-fire urged in Libya
A Libyan man holds former national flag as he carries his child on his shoulders during the funeral of two rebels one of them Faraj Omar Boushaiha, 51, who his relatives said died in Ajdabiya, during his funeral on Thursday, April 15, 2011, in the square next to the courthouse on the corniche in Benghazi, Libya. UPI\Tarek Alhuony. | License Photo

ROME, June 22 (UPI) -- Italy's foreign minister has called for a cease-fire in Libya so humanitarian aid can be delivered to the civilians in the war-torn country.

Franco Frattini urged "an immediate humanitarian suspension of hostilities," saying a ceasefire should be the main "priority" as a first step in any negotiating strategy, Italy's ANSA news agency reported Wednesday.

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Speaking in the lower house of Parliament in Rome, Frattini also called on NATO to provide information on the consequences of its bombing campaign in Libya.

NATO has admitted a house in Tripoli was mistakenly targeted during the weekend, killing nine civilians.

"With respect to NATO, it is fair to ask for more detailed information on results as well as clear and precise position on the dramatic errors affecting civilians, since this is clearly not NATO's mission," Frattini said.

Italy's involvement in Libya "has a clear limit: that of September set by NATO," he said.

"However, I think that aside from the issue of bombing, a solution must be found long before September."

Pressure to reconsider Italy's participation in the NATO mission in Libya has been coming from the Northern League, the main coalition partner of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party.

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Responding to Frattini's remarks, French officials said they are opposed to any cease-fire, saying it would help Moammar Gadhafi's forces, Radio France Internationale reported.

NATO and its allies should "intensify the pressure on Gadhafi," French foreign ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero said, saying a cease-fire now would allow Gadhafi to "play for time and reorganize."

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