A Libyan envoy said today that last month's terrorist attacks at the Rome and Vienna airports were justified as "actions of a partisan war, committed by revolutionaries."
"We are not responsible for these acts, but we support them because in our view they are acts in the struggle for freedom," said Salim Huweidi, Libya's cultural representative here.
Huweidi, who appeared at a press conference with Rami Mohammed Ash-Shaer, the Moscow representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, differentiated between the shootouts at the Rome and Vienna airports and terrorism, which he said Libya opposed.
"Libya is in no way a source of terrorism," he said. "We are not for terrorism; we are resolutely against it." But he said, "We are in support of the acts perpetrated in Rome and Vienna because we support the people's struggle, the struggle of people who have no submarines, no aircraft, only rifles to fight their way to freedom."
"U.S. threats against out country will not push us from our road," he said.
Ash-Shaer took a different view of the Rome and Vienna attacks, charging in a written statement that they had been perpetrated by U.S. and Israeli intelligence services as "a pretext" for a confrontation with Libya.
Ash-Shaer condemned what he called the U.S. campaign of "slander, libel and provocation" against Libya and expressed PLO solidarity with the Libyan people and its revolutionary leadership.
"Libya is claimed to be responsible for the terrorist attacks committed in the airports of Rome and Vienna," Ash-Shaer said. "Obviously enough, the Mossad [Israel's foreign intelligence agency] and CIA have planned and perpetrated these terrorist acts, which are now used by the Pentagon as a pretext to concentrate its Marines and Navy close to the border of a sovereign Arab country."
Questioned about the differences between the PLO and Libyan views, Ash-Shaer suggested that terrorist acts perpetrated by others can involve young Palestinian "freedom fighters" whose patriotism makes them unwitting accomplices.
The Libyan envoy's statements in favor of terrorist actions seemed to have embarrassed the Soviets. An account of the press conference carried tonight by the Soviet news agency Tass made no reference to the Rome and Vienna attacks and ignored the Libyan statement. Soviet officials have denounced terrorist attacks on civilians and backed Libya's claim of innocence in the airport shootings.