The highlight of this week was the meeting of the G7 Foreign Affairs Ministers, a gathering of worldwide importance that I had the honour and responsibility of chairing in the city of Lucca.
The responsibility was even greater on this occasion because the diplomatic leaders of the most industrialized Countries were meeting for the first time after the exacerbation of the Syrian crisis. And Syria was the prevailing subject of discussion so much so that I deemed that an extraordinary meeting was to be convened in Lucca with the participation of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar in the attempt to relaunch the political process. For this purpose I also talked over the phone with my Iranian colleague, Javad Zarif.
Not only Syria: many other issues were also discussed during the two-day meeting in Tuscany.
Among them, the fight against terrorism, the issue of Libya, Iraq, Yemen, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the crises in Africa, in Ukraine, the relationships with Russia, Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear issue, the North-Korean threat, migrations, safety at sea, IT and the UN agenda for peace and security.
The outcomes of the discussions were summarized in the final declarations of the ministerial meeting that I am sure will be a precious contribution to furthering the political talks on the core issues on the international agenda in view of the summit in Taormina of the G7 Heads of State and Government.
Here I am celebrating the success of the Lucca meeting, but I would also like to dwell on another aspect of the summit: the tribute paid by the representatives of the G7 Countries to the memory of the 560 victims of the Sant’Anna di Stazzema massacre. Because today, more than ever before, the world wants peace, freedom and security, and it is the task of the leaders who have responsibility in this area to cry out “never again.” And take action together in this direction. The appeal was welcomed by all my counterparts. Particularly significant were the words spoken by the United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and also by the Japanese Ambassador, as I told his Minister, Fumio Kishida, with whom I had a bilateral meeting.
Upon returning to Rome I immediately reported on the outcome of the Lucca summit to the Senate, emphasizing in particular that, from the proportionate, motivated and understandable reaction of the United States to the chemical attack in Syria, we can open a window of opportunity to relaunch the talks under the leadership of the UN. Without isolating or antagonizing Moscow.
I then left for Udine where I met the entrepreneurs of the Region at the Chamber of Commerce for the event “The Farnesina meets the business world”. I am very keen on initiatives such as this: economic diplomacy, with its concrete impact on the activities of Italian businesses abroad, is indeed one of the priorities of my mandate at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Accompanied by my colleague and friend Beatrice Lorenzin, I left Udine to go to Istria for a mission set up on the invitation of Unione Italiana, the organization that represents the Italian native minority of Croatia and Slovenia.
At first I met with many representatives of the Italian community at Umago and then I travelled to Pola where I met with the teachers and students of the “Dante Alighieri” Italian language Croatian Public school.
I told them that I am following a seven year old Syrian girl on Twitter who has a Twitter account that she manages with her mother.
The child speaks of how infinitely sad it was for her to lose her best friend who was killed by a bomb.
I told them that I am following this child because exiles are everywhere and besides the regrets they carry, their hearts are also full of hope.
Precisely as our brothers from Istria did about seventy years ago.
Precisely as this child is doing now, she dreams about growing up to be a teacher in Syrian schools, those that were destroyed today.
This is the message I wanted to bring here: peace, freedom, wellbeing, democracy and much more: for us, all this is embodied in Europe whose flag envelops us all because it is the flag of each and everyone of us.
Then there followed the institutional meetings with the Croatian Authorities. Together with Beatrice Lorenzin we were received by the Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Davor Ivo Stier, by Health Minister, Milan Kujundzic and by the Local Authorities.
With a highly important gesture, at the end of the institutional meetings, together with the Croatian government representatives, we paid tribute to the monument of Dr. Geppino Micheletti, a doctor from Trieste who, in 1946, heroically worked all night providing aid to the wounded during the Vergarolla massacre, all the while knowing that his children had perished during that same massacre. He put the pain of others before his own grief. A great example of generosity and courage.
Once again, remembering is important, it strengthens our roots, our identity and our resolve in reasserting the principles of civil coexistence and human rights.”