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Meeting between Minister Bonino and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Upper House, Mikhail Margelov

Foreign Minister Emma Bonino met Mikhail Margelov, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Upper House and President Putin’s Special Envoy for Africa, at the Farnesina today, 9 September 2013. The talks were an opportunity to exchange views on issues concerning southern Sahel and the terrorist threat menacing countries like Mali, Libya and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Minister Bonino and Mr Margelov shared a positive view of the outlook for Mali, where, in the wake of the presidential elections, the international community looks with some optimism to the opening of the national reconciliation process.

Minister Bonino and Mr Margelov agreed on the importance of training local police forces and supporting education and governance projects to help stabilise regional security.

The Minister and Mr Margelov then turned to the Syrian crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. They both firmly condemned the use of chemical weapons against defenceless civilians and agreed on the need to act as quickly as possible to reach a political solution. They agreed too that as things stand no military solution is possible. Margelov viewed the geo-political confrontation between Saudi Arabians and Iranians as the obstacle that needs to be tackled if a lasting solution is to be found. Minister Bonino agreed that Tehran must be involved in some way and play its part in helping the negotiations.

The discussion also allowed plenty of time for bilateral issues as the meeting drew to a close. Minister Bonino and Mr Margelov underscored the importance of the strategic partnership between Rome and Moscow on global and regional issues. They will meet again at the Inter-Governmental Summit in Trieste on 26 November 2013 to examine how best to increase cooperation in the economic and tourism sectors.