Italy responded cautiously on Friday to calls for a Western military intervention in Libya, saying there would first have to be precise mandates from the UN Security Council and the NATO alliance.
"Only someone who doesn't know the Arab world at all can talk lightly about Western military action in the heart of the Arab world," Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in an interview with Italy's Radio24.
A military option in the oil-rich North African state would require "precise mandates from the United Nations Security Council and NATO," he added.
Frattini also dismissed controversy over Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi kissing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's hand at an Arab League summit last year.
He said the episode was "a small thing linked to domestic politics," pointing out that other countries also showed Gaddafi lavish hospitality.
Since the start of the uprising "we have noted a situation that is completely different and we have seen the leader of a country firing on his own people. From that moment the international community said enough," he added.