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Terzi, packed agenda as the year begins. First stop Tunis, then on to Cairo, Tripoli, Beirut, Paris and London

Minister Terzi has a January agenda packed with meetings and missions whose main focus will be the European and Mediterranean themes that are among Italy’s top foreign policy priorities.

The minister’s first stop will be in Tunis on 6 January, where he will meet with new Prime Minister Jebali, President of the Republic Marzouki and Foreign Minister Abdessalem. Their talks, the first since the government change-over, will center on political and commercial relations between Rome and Tunis, as well as strengthening of the Tunisian transition – which Italy views as a true success story – and regional dialogue and cooperation, not least ahead of the 5+5 foreign ministers meeting being planned for Naples.

The next Mediterranean stop will be Cairo, a strategic partner for Italy, which has especially deep political, economic and cultural roots in that country. Minister Terzi’s visit will be an opportunity to strengthen relations with the Egyptian government and the new political forces and, in addition to bilateral topics, to examine regional concerns in the Mediterranean and Middle East, in whose stabilisation Egypt continues to play a vital role.

The minister will make two other visits to the region with other members of the government. On 21 January he will accompany Prime Minister Monti on a visit to Libya, and in late January will travel in the company of Defence Minister Di Paola to Lebanon, a nation pivotal to regional power balances and where Italian General Serra is about to reassume command of the UNIFIL mission.

Also on the minister’s January agenda are bilateral meetings with European partners: Having met in Rome with German foreign minister Westerwelle in November, Terzi will be in Paris on 10 January for a meeting with his French counterpart Juppé and in London on the 26th for one with his British colleague Hague. In both cases bilateral themes will accompany a review of Europe’s main international dossiers. Finally, on 30 January, Terzi will attend the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

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