The international community is committed to convincing Syrian President Bashar al Assad to open his eyes to the democratic demands of his people. This was Minister Giulio Terzi’s statement in a joint sitting of the Upper and Lower House commissions on the recent developments in the Syrian crisis. Terzi pointed out that the Syrian government’s response to the democratic aspirations of its people – the referendum, parliamentary elections and creation of a new government – has been purely “cosmetic”.
He went on to the UN Security Council’s latest vote, in which the Russian-Chinese veto blocked a resolution based on article 7, underscoring that the decision to renew the UN observers’ mission for another 30 days was the “lesser evil”, but that this would be the last extension.
Despite the veto, however, Italy feels that Moscow’s involvement “remains essential” to resolving the Syrian crisis. On a recent visit to Russia, Prime Minister Mario Monti “frankly expressed to Putin and Medvedev” that Italy’s hopes were that Moscow would unite with other positions aimed at a political resolution to the crisis.
Italy has also upped its pledge on behalf of the Syrian people on the humanitarian level. Terzi announced today that the Italian Cooperation had earmarked €500,000 to fund an emergency plan that would allow at least 2,500 Syrian child refugees in Lebanon admission to local public schools and psychological assistance to deal with the trauma resulting from the violence in their country. “We cannot stand by and watch, as the search goes on for a solution to the Syrian crisis”, while thousands of innocent children are enduring unacceptable conditions”, Terzi explained, who in recent days responded to an appeal launched by UNICEF Italia. The Italian Cooperation has also sent medical and other supplies to Syria and Lebanon, and set up a field hospital in Jordan.