Italy Demands Failed Nigeria Rescue Bid Details ‘In Hours’

(AFP) – Italy’s foreign minister said Friday that Rome was demanding Britain communicate further details on its failed Nigeria rescue bid “in the next hours”.

Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata said after talks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague that “I asked for detailed information because we have a right to maximum clarity on this episode.”

The Italian minister spoke after meeting with Hague on the sidelines of informal EU foreign ministers’ talks in Copenhagen.

“I also communicated the immense suffering that this news caused an Italian family,” he told reporters.

“And I insisted that the information we have requested be sent to us as soon as possible, in the coming hours.”

Italy has condemned as “inexplicable” Britain’s failure to warn it ahead of time of an operation to rescue a pair of British and Italian hostages in Nigeria that resulted in their deaths.

President Giorgio Napolitano earlier said that “the behaviour of the British government, which did not inform or consult with Italy on the operation that it was planning, really is inexplicable.”

“There needs to be a political and diplomatic clarification,” he said.

Responding to Italian anger over not being consulted on the botched rescue, Hague said earlier there had been “limited time” and too many “constraints”.

“We worked closely with the Italian government throught this case from May last year”, when the pair, Franco Lamolinara and Chris McManus, were kidnapped, Hague told reporters.

“We had to make a decision very quickly, a decision to go ahead with this operation. We had very limited time and that constrained how much we could inform others,” he said.

“We were able to inform the Italian government as the operation got under way but not to do more than that,” Hague added.

“I think everyone understands the constraints involved, the rapid timing involved in a case like this.”

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