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Tajani: «We hope that whoever comes next will be committed to the stability of the region» (Corriere della Sera)

ROME – Between Iran and Israel, between Palestine and Russia, there are many and very delicate international dossiers that also involve Italy. Foreign Minister Tajani follows each dossier with the same watchword: “Peace. We hope that everyone’s interest in stabilising the region prevails, so that the conflict does not spread and we can reach a peace that guarantees everyone’s rights as soon as possible”.

Let us start with Iran: the death of President Raisi was at the centre of a government meeting. What idea have you got?

«From the first analyses, it seems to have been an accident, caused by a technical problem or bad weather. Our hope is that whoever will temporarily take over as President and whoever will win in the next elections will be committed to the stability of the region and to peace».

But do you think that, with the next elections, there could be a change in Iranian politics?

«It will depend on how many people go to vote, how, and with which candidates. We do not interfere in the election campaign of another country. Our commitment is to try – through every channel – to put pressure so that the conflict does not spread but rather there is détente. All our efforts today are aimed at this».

Iran, however, is a country where democracy is trampled upon and women suffer unacceptable impositions: why did our government offer condolences for the dead leaders?

«The condolences are due to the tragic nature of the accident: People who had a government role in their country died. Our condolences are independent of the political judgment on Raisi’s actions».

What does this mean in concrete terms?

«Our position is always the same: we continue to be against any violation of human rights, against the death penalty and against the lack of freedom for women. And we strongly believe so».

Meanwhile yesterday the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Hamas leaders for war crimes. What do you think about it?

«It is completely unacceptable that Hamas and Israel – the leaders of the terrorist group who started the war in Gaza by slaughtering innocent citizens and the leaders of the government elected by the people of Israel are put on the same level. It is absurd that the Prosecutor only conceived that parallel. In no way can we even imagine such an equivalence. Be careful not to legitimize anti-Israeli positions that can fuel anti-Semitic phenomena».

But the government has also criticized Israel for how it is conducting the war.

«Our position does not change. We say no to the attack on Rafah. We are for an immediate ceasefire and for the possibility of providing humanitarian aid and protecting civilians’ lives. But at the same time we defend Israel’s right to exist and we are for a policy of two peoples and two States».

Will you say so to the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority arriving in Italy?

«Of course. And I say more: we are also in favour of sending our soldiers on a possible UN mission under the command of an Arab country – as has been proposed – to pave the way for the birth of a Palestinian State. Our presence could be very important, because we are liked by both the Israelis and the Palestinians, as we are by the Serbs and the Albanians in Kosovo».

Another front is the Russian one, with European companies, such as Unicredit, seeing hundreds of millions of capital blocked. What is the government doing?

«We have just held a meeting of a permanent Table with all the parties concerned to protect the interests of the Italian companies that operate in Russia by complying with sanctions. We are studying every legal aspect and at the next EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting we will also consult with Germany, which has its companies involved, to try to take action together. We want to make it clear that our companies are supported by governments and are not at war with Russia».

In the meantime, European elections are approaching ever more. Prime Minister Meloni seems to have moved closer to Marine Le Pen and the right-wing grouping. What do you think about it?

«Meloni is the leader of the European Conservatives and can do what she wants. These are her choices. As for us, we continue to hope that a majority of EPP members, Conservatives and Liberals can be formed, the one that elected me as President of the European Parliament in 2017. But we know very well that we must first listen to European citizens with their votes».

But would you be willing to extend the alliance also to Le Pen, to AfD?

«Absolutely not, because we have very different positions on Europe, NATO, conflicts, and Russia. The League is something different, but we do not plan to form any alliance with these parties».

So the EPP could still ally itself with the Socialists and Democrats?

«I do not make promises that I do not know whether I can keep: alliances will depend on citizens’ votes. I do know, however, that by voting Forza Italia you strengthen the Italian component of the EPP, which is the party of stability and will be central to any power balance. Eighty per cent of the laws we adopt are transpositions of European directives and therefore we care that Italy counts in Europe. By voting Forza italia you count more in Europe».

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