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UK and Italy join forces on terror

 
 
 
 
 
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Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi (right) shakes hands with Foreign Secretary William Hague (left)

Britain and Italy are setting up a joint counter-terrorism group to improve co-operation following the failed hostage rescue bid in Nigeria.

Foreign Secretary William Hague and counterpart Giulio Terzi made the announcement after holding talks in Rome.

Engineers Christopher McManus and Franco Lamolinara were killed by their captors earlier this month as UK special forces and Nigerian troops tried to save them.

The deaths sparked a diplomatic spat between London and Rome, with Italian politicians complaining that they had not been told of the operation until it was under way.

In a joint statement after their meeting, Mr Hague and Mr Terzi said the threat facing the countries had been “tragically underlined by events in Nigeria two weeks ago”.

“We confirmed our intention to intensify our already close co-operation and consultation in this area, and agreed to establish a UK-Italy high level group on terrorism to oversee this work,” the ministers said.

“This group will meet at senior official level and will look at the full range of our co-operation on counter-terrorism and related issues, including counter-kidnap, piracy, radicalisation, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.”

The pair also agreed to help build “regional capacity” to tackle the kidnap threat posed by terrorist groups operating across borders.

“As a first step, the UK and Italy will consider how best to help strengthen Nigeria’s capacity to tackle the threat posed by terrorism, including through support to regional law enforcement and security co-ordination,” they said.

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