Italy has received no request from the United States for help in U.S. efforts to remove mines in the gulf, Foreign Ministry officials said Friday.
Reports from Washington said U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar M. Weinberger was seeking to enlist France, Britain and Italy in the operation designed to maintain passage through the Persian Gulf."We have received no such request from the government of the United States," said a ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In a policy address to Parliament on Thursday, Italy's new premier,
Giovanni Goria, deplored that the loss of life in the Iran-Iraq war was too often overshadowed by the international implications of the conflict.
He said, however, that the principle of freedom of navigation is "also fundamental for us."
He said Italy supported the recent U.N. Security Council call for a cease-fire and mediation efforts by the U.N. secretary-general.
Mr. Goria made no mention of what Italy's position would be if asked by the United States for support in protecting shipping in the Persian Gulf.
On Friday, Antonio Rubbi, a foreign policy spokesman for the Communist Party, said the government "should not take part in any fashion" in any military operation in the gulf area.