Former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato (1992-1993, 2000-2001) claims that Bettino Craxi, who served as president of the Italian Council of Ministers from 1983 to 1987, warned then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi of French plans to eliminate it in 1980.
According to Mr. Amato, “a plan was developed to strike the plane (MiG of the Libyan Air Force) on which Mr. Gaddafi was on board.” “The plan was to simulate a NATO exercise involving a large number of planes, during which a missile was to be fired at the Libyan leader,” the former prime minister said in an interview with the newspaper La Repubblica. This was then to be presented as an accident.
Gaddafi had been warned of the danger and did not board his plane, the former prime minister continued. “I learned later, it is true without proof, that it was Bettino who had warned Gaddafi of the danger in the Italian skies. He certainly did not want the truth to be revealed: he would have been accused of treason against NATO and spying for the enemy,” Mr. Amato said.
He affirmed that “the missile fired at the Libyan MiG ended up hitting” a Douglas DC-9 airliner from the Itavia company.
The crash of an Itavia airliner on June 27, 1980 left 81 dead. The plane crashed at sea between the islands of Ustica and Ponza, in the southern Apennines. Mr. Amato holds the French air force responsible for the disaster. According to him, this is “the most plausible version”. The politician, however, provided no proof of what he was saying.
Previously, the Palermo court confirmed that the crash of the airliner was caused by a missile fired by another plane.
Mr. Amato’s remarks had a wide resonance. Thus, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, declared that Mr. Amato “exposes his own version”. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said authorities would be ready to “take all possible measures” if Mr. Amato provided documents on the case.