Italy rules out armed action in Syria without U.N.

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Italy on Tuesday ruled out taking part in any type of military intervention in Syria without U.N. Security Council approval, saying there was no alternative to “a negotiated political solution.”

“Italy will not take part in any military solutions without a U.N. Security Council mandate,” Foreign Minister Emma Bonino told lawmakers.

Bonino said there was a proposal to hold a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday and the situation would also be discussed by NATO in Brussels on Thursday.

“Even the option of a limited intervention risks becoming unlimited,” the minister said.

She said Italy, which has 4,000 troops in Afghanistan, was already "stretched" in other parts of the world.

But the defense ministry said her remarks did not mean Italian air and naval bases could not be used by foreign countries for a hypothetical armed attack, although this would require parliamentary approval.

Use of the U.S. military base at Sigonella in Sicily would not require such approval as it already operates under an existing Italy-U.S. bilateral agreement.

Italian bases served as a key logistical platform for the bombing campaign in Libya in 2011.

Bonino called for "great determination" in pursuing a peaceful solution, including stepping up a campaign to force President Bashar al-Assad into exile.

The West has ramped up the rhetoric following reports of a deadly chemical attack outside Damascus on August 21, which it blames on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"The indications we have reinforce the hypothesis that Syrian forces made massive use of lethal chemical agents, in particular sarin gas," Bonino said.

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