“You are rendering an exceptional service to Lebanon, to Italy and to the cause of peace, and that makes me and all Italians very proud of you”, Minister Giulio Terzi wrote in a letter read today by Under-Secretary Staffan De Mistura to the Italian contingent of the UN UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon at the Israeli border.
Revival of peace process fundamental
“Moreover”, Terzi continued, “we are aware that this mission is no substitute for dialogue between the parties aimed at a political solution. Revival of the peace process therefore remains fundamental”. “We are working”, the minister added, “in order that such a revival does not obstruct the intense and ongoing transformations of recent months in the Mediterranean region, and are focused in particular on the conflict in Syria. Containing the risk of its having a destabilizing impact on Lebanon is a priority of the Italian government in ensuring the security of Italy and the stability of the Mediterranean. Your task, therefore, assumes even more decisive significance”.
De Mistura – Serra meeting
De Mistura met in Beirut with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Premier Najib Miqati, President of the Parliament Nabih Berri and UN Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly, before leaving for the south of the country, where he concluded his visit by meeting with the Italian UNIFIL contingent and Commander of the UN forces at the Israeli border, Italian General Paolo Serra. Their discussions included the Syrian crisis, with regard to which – as De Mistura explained – the international community must “accelerate humanitarian interventions” on behalf of the civilian population and help the opposition to take a clearer “position as interlocutor” in efforts to reach a political solution.