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Participation of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani, at the 8th Union for the Mediterranean Regional Forum (UfM)

Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani, took part in the 8th Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum in Barcelona.

During the plenary session, after having reiterated the relentless condemnation of the terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October, Tajani confirmed Italy’s commitment in support of the legitimate Palestinian Authority. He added that reducing the spiral of violence triggered in the West Bank is of paramount importance to avoid hindering future dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

The Deputy Minister also praised the release of the first hostages and underlined the relevance of this diplomatic achievement, which is also fundamental for the future of the conflict.

“Italy is working to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, in particular through the delivery of healthcare and sanitary supplies via sea, and the possibility to install a field hospital – declared Tajani and added that “we are ready to endure the hospitalisation of Palestinian minors on the national territory, if necessary, with the support of the United Arab Emirates.”

On the regional level, the Deputy Prime Minister underlined that the risk of escalation exists, mostly in connection to the border between Israel and Lebanon and, more specifically, concerning Hezbollah’s activities in the area.

As far as post-war perspectives are concerned, he affirmed that the only credible and sustainable solution to the crisis is resuming the Israeli-Palestinian political process. This approach will allow making a clear distinction between Hamas and the Palestinian people, with the legitimate aspiration of the latter to create a State while also strengthening Israel’s security. “Clearly – concluded Tajani – a transitionary phase with the complete involvement of the Palestinian National Authority is necessary”.

The meeting in Barcelona was also a chance to hold bilateral discussions with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of other Countries, which can play a crucial role now, mainly in the light of a de-escalation of the Gaza war.

These topics, as the political perspective of conflict resolution, were at the heart of the discussion with the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faisal, who joined the meeting as the President of the “Arab-Islamic Committee for Peace”, established after the summit of the Arab League held recently in Riyadh.

More specifically, the Saudi partner looks at the future developments of the peace process in the Middle East, hoping that this severe crisis might be a driver to a new “two peoples, two States solution”. This also implies strengthening the Palestinian National Authority by holding elections that would support and legitimate the Palestinian Leadership.

During the meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Fidan, vital concern emerged about the possible deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Such concern also relates to the number of displaced people in the case of a full resumption of military operations in the area. For this reason, it is essential to join efforts to have more prolonged, structured and repeated humanitarian pauses.

With Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdallah Bou Habib, Tajani emphasised the need to keep the situation in southern Lebanon, on the border with Israel, under control, also using the role of Unifil as a channel of communication between the parties. There is a common understanding that the resumption of a political horizon for the Palestinians can serve to prevent the instrumentalisation of the ongoing conflict by extremist formations and ensure stability in the region in the medium and long term.

The Deputy Prime Minister confirmed with Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Shoukry the Italian readiness to provide medical assistance to the population of Gaza both by sending a ship with hospital capacity and by deploying a field hospital. For both of these initiatives, Egypt’s support and cooperation are essential, especially in terms of logistics and organisation.

Tajani also thanked Egypt for its efforts in the flow of humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing, its commitment to the release of hostages and the revival of the political perspective of the “two peoples, two States” formula.

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