PM says Italy will not join Syrian operation unless U.N. backs it

ROME Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:14am EDT

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta gestures during a news conference at the end of a cabinet meeting at Chigi palace in Rome August 28, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta gestures during a news conference at the end of a cabinet meeting at Chigi palace in Rome August 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

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ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Thursday Italy would not join any military operation against Damascus without authorization from the United Nations Security Council.

"If the United Nations doesn't back it, Italy will not participate," he told Italy's RAI state radio, but added that Italy fully backed international condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The international community has to respond strongly to Assad and his regime and to the horrors which have been committed," he said, referring to reported chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; editing by Andrew Roche)

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