(fa fede solo il testo effettivamente pronunciato)
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of France, Laurent Fabius,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Libya, Mohammed Abdel Aziz,
I am very grateful to the French and Libyan co-Presidency for organizing this Conference. Thank you, Laurent, for the friendly splendid hospitality. I also wish to express my appreciation to UNSMIL for its significant contribution to the Libyan transition under the lead of Tarek Mitri.
Today we can pave the way for a more decisive and immediate contribution to Libya’s future, and deliver an important message: we will not leave the Libyan people alone in its pursuit of democracy, security and respect for human rights. This conference is extremely important also to express not only our full support to the new Libya but to emphasize how impressive the commitment of Libyan leadership is towards a democratic future.
In this effort, we must be as one. It is our duty to restore confidence in a future of peace and prosperity for the whole Euro-Mediterranean region. My country feels its responsibility to assure a decisive contribution. Italy’s proximity to Libya helped forge a deep mutual comprehension and a strong human link between our two peoples. This link leaned upon long-lasting political, economic and social ties, and a shared cultural heritage. It is no exaggeration to state that, in the Mediterranean, the stability and prosperity of Libya are the stability and prosperity of Italy.
Accordingly, our contribution to the rebuilding of our Libyan neighbors will continue to be wide, and deep. As can be seen in the masterplan here circulated, my country is implementing 35 projects and is preparing to be a contributor in another 70 projects in the areas considered by the masterplan itself.
The Italian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Defense, Justice and Economic Development, are implementing a coordinated and substantial assistance package. It has been defined in close coordination with our Libyan partners and in full respect of the principle of Libyan ownership.
Security is, of course, a top priority. The Minister of defense was in Tripoli last week to donate donated to Libya 20 armoured vehicles, and to start the refitting of 4 patrol boats. The Italian Ministries of Interior and Defense have trained more than 280 Libyan Security Forces. This figure will soon reach 700. We are providing the Libyan authorities advice in demining, IED neutralization and NBC training.
In the EU framework, Italy contributes to SAHMED and SEAHORSE. We support the Crisis Management Concept for a CSDP mission focusing on border security in Libya. This mission should be launched as soon as possible. A major undertaking is the installation of a major electronic border control system, which we are financing with 152 millions Euros.
Border control, especially with regard to Libya’s southern borders, is of the utmost urgency. It must be at the center of our engagement. We share the concern of our Libyan friends that the gate to the Sahel be carefully watched, to avoid a spillover of the instability we are witnessing in the region. In this regard, I would take the chance to pay tribute, here in Paris, to the French effort to stabilize the situation in Mali upon request of the Government in Bamako, an effort that Italy firmly supports.
We should not forget that our overarching challenge is to promote a sustainable security that will stand firmly on its own feet. This means helping Libyan authorities diversify the country’s economy; offering training and job opportunities to those who fought for freedom; promoting social inclusion, and entrepreneurship; strengthening civil society and the rule of law. During my last meeting with Minister Abdel Aziz, I presented him a comprehensive proposal by the Italian Ministry of Justice. We will, for example, help Libya review its criminal law code, build anti-corruption legislation and institutions that are credible and respectful of human rights.
Our commitment in the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process goes hand in hand with our effort to revitalize Libya’s civil society. We are working on a number of programs among which one to promote a free and fair media environment. To foster Libyan academia we are, in addition, granting Libyan graduate and post-graduate students 100 university scholarships a year.
In reaffirming the need for international coordination, Italy is eager to participate in all the follow-up activities of the Conference. It is extremely important to keep the momentum, and remain sharply focused on Libyan security. Therefore, I am glad to announce that we are ready to host in Rome, in due time, the next Ministerial Conference on Libya, in full coordination with the Libyan government, the United Nations and all the actors involved. I thank Turkey for supporting our initiative.
I would also like to support Laurent Fabius’ proposal to make, out of this group, a permanent “core group” on Libyan security.
We are all here today to pledge our commitment to support Libya’s path towards democracy and stability. The determination shown by the Libyan Authorities to follow this path is a constant encouragement to our engagement.
To fulfill our pledge, it is vital that we leverage our resources to the best and most rapid effect. Our success in this endeavor will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the Libyan transition, and in the future of the entire region.