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Syria: Bonino, Italy will not participate in absence of UN mandate

“Italy will not actively take part in military solutions in the absence of a UN Security Council mandate”, Minister for Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino’s said in a briefing before the joint Upper and Lower House Foreign Affairs Commissions on the latest developments in Syria and Egypt. For Italy, the minister explained, a UN Security Council mandate is “the only legal framework of reference” for a military intervention in Syria.

Assad’s use of sarin gas increasingly considered probable

“The evidence we have reinforces the hypothesis that the Syrian forces have made massive use of lethal chemical agents, particularly sarin gas”, which is “the most lethal”, the minister asserted, underscoring that “the systematic and intentional use of chemical weapons against civilians is a war crime as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court”.

No military solution

In any case, the minister reiterated that “there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict”. “We note” the U.S.’s cancellation of the Geneva 2 preparatory meeting, and “we understand the reasons” for it, but “we are convinced that a negotiated solution is the only sustainable one, and for this reason the commitment to a Geneva 2, or whatever it may be called, remains valid”, she added.

Egypt: more painful days ahead, but no going back to 2011

On the situation in Egypt, the minister said that “a pure and simple return to the past is out of the question. There are probably other even more painful days ahead, but there is no way that we can go back to 2011, because the Egyptian people’s awakening has been real”.

Risk of terrorism beyond North African borders

And the minister also sounded an alarm: “I fear that efforts to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood could push some of them into extremist positions, with the additional risk of the formation of terrorist groups, which would not confine themselves to Egypt or North Africa and would have great freedom of movement”.

EU failure at mediation

Before the massacres in the squares of Cairo, “for once, just as we had all wanted, Europe spoke in a single voice. But that mediation was a failure. And it is hard to have to admit it, harder that if it had been too slow or even non-existent”.

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