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Mogherini, support for Iraq against terrorist threat – Minister in Athens for EU-Arab League meeting

Italy spearheaded a declaration on Iraq at the EU-Arab League summit today in Athens, following the dramatic reports from Mosul. The Iraqi security situation was also the focus of a bilateral meeting the minister held in the summit margins with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The international community, the EU and naturally also Italy, must support the Iraqi government against the terrorist threat, Mogherini explained, activating “all the bilateral and multilateral instruments we can to assist the population suffering the effects of recent events”. Mogherini urged recourse to all “diplomatic and political instruments” because “the most difficult moment is the transition” that follows war. The minister insisted on the need to support Iraq after the excellent elections held to form a government capable of unifying the country and ensuring stability, security and economic prosperity. This is not only in the interests of the Iraqi people, but of the entire Mediterranean and Middle East”.

Italy working toward elections and dialogue in Libya

Italy intends to continue to provide its support for the launch of a “process of dialogue in Libya that leads to national reconciliation and revision of the Constitution”, the minister stated. Only in this way can Libya “build stable, reliable institutions recognised by all Libyan citizens and therefore capable of fully reactivating oil production and controlling its own territory, including land and sea borders”, she assured.

Meeting with Libyan foreign minister

Mogherini continued, “although it has an international political profile, Italy has a special interest in the Mediterranean and Middle East. We are a reference point for Libya”. The minister also met today with Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz – the third to be appointed in 3 months – to discuss the next steps. “Elections are planned for the 25th, and efforts are under way set up a national dialogue meeting with the UN Special Envoy immediately prior to or following Ramadan”, she reported.

Disarmament crucial in Middle East

Discussions at the Athens meeting also turned to the current revision of the nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty with a view to creating a weapons of mass destruction-free area in the Middle East. In this regard, Mogherini recalled that the suggestion of that revision had emerged during the last meeting in 2010, but was stalled for the moment “and it has not been possible so far even to convene a conference on the subject”. What’s more, she added, “various Arab countries, but Italy as well, agree on the need to meet before the next treaty revision conference in 2015, because we believe that this is fundamental to the security of the region and of the world. It is crucial to free such a tension-filled region as the Middle East of such weapons”.