The Foreign Minister: «We will supply the missile system together with France»
Minister Tajani, Zelensky calls for more weapons now, but at the Ramstein Summit there was reluctance and resistance, especially from Germany. How to proceed?
“I say so over and over again: Italy supports every possible path to achieve a just peace in Ukraine, which means the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In the meantime, however, the Russian brutal and indiscriminate attacks are continuing. The overall consequences of the conflict, especially in terms of food and energy security, continue to be severe. The conflict must end as soon as possible, but it must be clear to Ukraine’s allies that we must do everything possible to help this nation in its struggle for independence».
What is Italy prepared to do?
«Italy has already provided Ukraine with five defence aid packages worth around billion euros. A sixth package, including air defence systems, is being prepared. Minister Kuleba thanked us for the support we provided, and I reiterated that it would continue. In collaboration with France, we are finalising the delivery of the Samp-T, and in any case there are other actions on which we are working confidentially».
Will Parliament be involved in these steps?
«It will always be informed of every initiative and any future supply of military equipment. I wish to recall that the Decree on Ukraine has extended the possibility of supplies to 2023. We will respect the commitment made».
Until when can Italy support this conflict?
«In the current phase, uncertainty about the final outcome of the conflict dominates, and this situation does not favour the possibility of serious negotiations between the parties. The need for logistics and military supplies will increasingly be a key factor for both Ukraine and Russia. The global consequences of the conflict, especially in terms of food and energy security, are before us to be seen. Unity of purpose and maximum cooperation with international partners are essential, at this stage more than ever».
Do you fear Russian disinformation actions?
«The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has amplified Russian disinformation. Countering this poisonous phenomenon is decisive. We must build societies that are impervious to disinformation, with actions aimed at digital literacy, fact-checking, and the development of critical thinking. The war must not impose the “single thought’ on us. I am the first to say this, but neither must we let ourselves be influenced by fake news and poisonous disinformation».
Today you are visiting Egypt, after Turkey and Tunisia, and Prime Minister Meloni is going to Algeria: is energy emergency the theme?
«These visits are obviously part of the government’s strategy to strengthen collaboration on energy – and also on other issues – with the main Mediterranean countries. In addition to Algeria and Libya, Italy has started importing gas from Egypt. Egyptian energy resources are a concrete opportunity to strengthen the Italian supply diversification strategy».
Is your idea to be a bridge between Europe and the Mediterranean region?
«There is obviously not only the energy issue to be tackled in our visits: this can be a factor to foster stability, growth and shared prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Coordination with all the major Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia) is vital to stabilise Libya. I also said so in a phone call with the Foreign Minister of the Emirates, Abdullah Bin Zayed. A “Pact for the Sovereignty of Libya” is needed, a joint effort to get the path towards UN-led elections back on track. It is a difficult job. The interests and viewpoints are different. This is the reason why the government has decided to be more present and active in the Mediterranean region. We are working on increasingly intense coordination. I am convinced that there will be no lack of results».
What else will you discuss in Egypt?
«Italy, with Eni and its companies, has offered Egypt strong support in identifying and extracting energy resources. But we want to strengthen an all-round economic collaboration. We must also better understand each other on the main political dossiers: Libya, first of all. But there is also the pressing need to mitigate the impact of Russian aggression on Ukraine, especially in terms of energy and food security. We also want to discuss again the possibility of joint and responsible management of immigration flows. Once again our proposal is to give Egypt the possibility of regular and legal flows, provided they are always effective against illegal trafficking».
The Regeni and Zaki cases are still open with Egypt.
«The Italian government and public keep on strongly asking for truth about the killing of Giulio Regeni. Truth is needed for justice. I will reiterate that concrete signs are needed for ascertaining the truth. This will be an important topic in the talks in Cairo. As to the Zaki case, we respect the Egyptian jurisdiction and hope that the restrictive measures against him will be lifted so that Patrick can return to Bologna to continue his studies».