“After months of deadlock, and in a complex political and social context, Lebanon has a new government. My sincerest best wishes go out to the Lebanese political forces that have agreed on a broadly representative team”, Minister for Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino stated in a press release.
Tension influenced by Syrian crisis
On Saturday incoming Lebanese premier Tammam Salam announced the formation of a long-awaited new government after 10 months of political deadlock. The list of 24 minister included members of Hezbollah and their pro-Saudi Sunni rivals. The announcement of the formation of the Salam government arrived in a context of strong political and religious polarisation consequent to the nearby and prolonged Syrian conflict in which Hezbollah militias and their Sunni rivals are actively participating, and of steadily deteriorating security conditions: over recent months the two camps have staged repeated reciprocal attacks and suicide bombings against political targets.
A million Syrian refugees the key challenge
“Italy”, she continued, “encourages the new lawmakers to adopt measures that will help Lebanon to meet the difficult national and regional challenges it faces, particularly those associated with the presence on their soil of a million Syrian refugees”.
Positive development for Italian UNIFIL mission
“This is a positive political development also for Italy, which maintains a contingent of more than a thousand men in the UNIFIL mission in the south of that country. We must be fully aware of the difficulties that will arise in the coming months as a result of the failure to reach an agreement in Geneva between the Syrian regime and the opposition forces, but we will do our part with the greatest possible determination to support the Lebanese armed forces’ efforts to stabilise a country to which we are bound not only by economic interests but by a centuries-old friendship”, the head of Italian diplomacy concluded.