Libya’s elected government has accused the Italian navy of violating the country’s territorial waters, alleging that it spotted three Italian warships off its eastern coast.
In a statement made available to newsmen, Libya’s recognized government said that the warships were spotted by its naval forces.
“The warships kept on until they approached the shores of Deryana town in east of Benghazi.
“The government strongly condemns this violation,” the statement said.
Reacting to the accusation, Italy’s Defence Ministry denied that any of its ships had violated Libyan waters.
“All of Italy’s military ships present in the Mediterranean operate in international waters and respect the limits established by treaty,” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Libya is in conflict over power tussle between its recognized government in the east and a self-proclaimed government controlling Tripoli.
A rivalry western powers worry has allowed Islamist militants and people smugglers to grow in strength.
The UN is attempting to broker a peace agreement and unity government between the factions, which would open the door to more European and international cooperation and aid.