Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, told the press today how he tried to talk the US president out of invading Iraq including asking the help of Colonel Muammar Gadafy, in secret efforts to stop America from going to war.

Berlusconi said "I have never been convinced war was the best way to succeed in making a country democratic and extract it from an albeit bloody dictatorship, adding "I tried on several occasions to convince the American president not to wage war."

Italy is has the third largest number of troops in the US-led coalition in Iraq with 3,000 troops installed 300 of whom withdrew in September with further withdrawals planned.