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No decision to abandon G8 – Concern over fate of Venezuela and its Italians, Ambassador summoned

The situation in Crimea and Ukraine, the crisis in Venezuela, relations with Lebanon and Italy’s commitment in Afghanistan. These were the main topics addressed during Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini’s address to the Chamber and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees today. Minister Mogherini reiterated that “the annexation of Crimea is a grave deterioration in the crisis and foreshadows a serious isolation of Russia because it is the result of unjustified unilateral action”. As for the G8 summit in Sochi, Minister Mogherini clarified that “the preparatory work has been suspended but the G8 format has not been abandoned: we are working to ensure that it is re-asserted”.

OSCE observers to be sent to Crimea

“Discussions are going on as we speak on deploying a sizeable OSCE mission to Crimea with several hundred observers”. The foreign minister underscored the need for a partnership between the Atlantic Alliance and Ukraine, adding that anything more would not be timely. “We don’t feel, and I hope that will continue to be the case in coming weeks, that NATO is the right forum to address the issue of Ukraine. Comments from Kiev on this, ruling out Ukrainian membership of NATO, are reassuring”.

Venezuela giving cause for concern

Minister Mogherini told the foreign Affairs Committees that she has summoned the Ambassador of Venezuela, who she will be meeting tomorrow “to obtain direct information and convey to him our concern for Italian interests and for the fate of his country”.

Lebanon: conference in Rome on support for armed forces

An international ministerial conference to help strengthen Lebanon’s armed forces will take place in Rome in early summer 2014. The Lebanese armed forces are “an instrument of security for the country and therefore for the region, and an acknowledged example of national unity”. Mogherini will be meeting her Lebanese colleague, Gebran Bassil, at the Farnesina today.

Afghanistan: “I’ll be visiting Kabul after the May elections”

As regards Italy’s commitment in Afghanistan, “2014 will be a crucial year”, commented Minister Mogherini, who also announced that she will be visiting Kabul after the presidential elections in May. She underscored that after the withdrawal “Italy doesn’t want to disengage, but to engage in a different manner. As a government, we are committed to discussing each development with the Parliament and to supporting Afghanistan’s democratic transition. The country must not turn back, especially on human rights and women’s rights”.

Development Cooperation: the intention is to increase resources

“I’m seeking your cooperation because our intention is to increase Development Cooperation resources”, Minister Mogherini told the parliamentarians. “The government intends to support the rapid approval and implementation of the cooperation reform, the parliamentary process for which is already under way”.

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