Muammar Gaddafi does not seem to be in control of Libya anymore, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Gaddafi's strongest European ally, said on Saturday.
"I have fresh news from a few minutes ago and it appears that, effectively, Gaddafi no longer controls the situation in Libya," Berlusconi told a political meeting in Rome.
Berlusconi, who has been relatively subdued in condemning the violence in Libya, said popular revolts in North Africa could bring democracy and freedom but also trigger the creation of "dangerous centres of Islamic fundamentalism a few kilometres from our shores" and a mass exodus of refugees.
"For this reason, Europe and the West cannot remain spectators of this process, and above all we can't do that," he said. "The events of the past few weeks affect our trade relations, our energy supplies and our own security."
Italy has close business ties with Libya, a former Italian colony which supplies around 25 percent of Rome's oil needs and 12 percent of its gas imports.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 26 Şubat 2011, 14:32