Da’esh “is trying to take Islam hostage and distort its image. That is why the battle against terrorism and extremism is a battle within Islam: it’s our battle”. Those were the words of the Jordanian foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, in a press statement after his meeting with his Italian colleague Paolo Gentiloni. Minister Gentiloni was on a mission to Amman and to the refugee camp at Azraq, on the border with Syria.
Gentiloni said he “appreciated” Jordan’s contribution to the anti-Da’esh coalition. A contribution that is “highly significant not only in military terms, but also in terms of approach, through the leadership of King Abdullah. His position is that this is not just a military battle, but a challenge that also involves the cultural dimension”. The two ministers reviewed all the regional crises, from Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen.
The Syrian refugee emergency was one of the key topics of the talks between the two foreign ministers. Jordan hosts 1.4 million Syrians, who represent about 20% of the kingdom’s entire population. “Italy’s contribution is concentrated in the health sector, with a field hospital and health centre in the two main refugee camps in Jordan. We also focus on helping the most vulnerable groups, especially women and children”, said Gentiloni.
Italy also allocated new aid funding at the donors’ conference in Kuwait City on 31 March 2015. The funding is part of the 3.8 billion dollars pledged at the conference, to which Italy is contributing 18 million euros for initiatives with a strong social impact in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan. Minister Gentiloni underscored that these are “significant results, but are not a solution”. Italy feels that “work for the refugees must be tackled from a long-term perspective, not just as an emergency”.
Middle East: resumption of negotiations for two-state solution vital
The situation in the Middle East, and in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was another topic addressed by foreign ministers Gentiloni and Judeh. “I believe that with the formation of a new Israeli government it will be vital to relaunch negotiations to achieve the goal of two states. This is the road to follow to resolve a conflict rooted so far in the past. In this resumption of talks”, added Minister Gentiloni, “the Arab countries, Jordan first and foremost, can play a crucial role alongside the EU and the USA”.