ROME Italy condemned a gun attack on one of its diplomats in the Libyan city of Benghazi, describing it on Sunday as an attempt to destabilize the country.
Consul Guido De Sanctis was unhurt in the shooting on Saturday of his heavily armored car, which came four months after the U.S. ambassador was killed in an attack on the U.S. mission in the eastern Libyan city.
"This was an attempt to destabilize the institutions of the new Libya," Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said in a statement.
"Italy expresses its strongest condemnation and reaffirms its total support of the democratic path and the reforms that the Tripoli authorities have started."
He gave no indication of who might have been behind the attack.
In a telephone conversation with acting Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz, Terzi reaffirmed Italy's resolve to help Libya reinforce its security and infrastructure and revive its economy.
Abdulaziz assured him that Libyan authorities were determined to track down and punish those responsible for the attack, the Italian ministry said.
(Reporting By Catherine Hornby; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)