The ministerial meeting in Istanbul of the representatives of the 11 country members of the Friends of Syria follows on the heels of the Rome meeting in late February. Italy is represented by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Marta Dassù.
Primary goal remains political solution
In line with the conclusions of the Rome meeting, the primary goal remains a political solution to the crisis capable of leading to the creation of a national unity government once Assad steps down. The countries meeting in Istanbul are to focus on strengthening the effectiveness and credibility of the opposition coalition and the interim government, whose clear intention of bringing cohesion to a political project with which all components of the Syrian population can identify is expected.
Italy supports moderate leadership of Syrian opposition
Deputy Minister Dassù will reiterate Italy’s support for a moderate leadership of the Syrian opposition previously expressed by Premier Monti in London on the occasion of his meeting with Prime Minister Hitto in the margins of the G8, and will underscore the need for international cohesion on a solution to the crisis.
Humantiarian emergency: 22 million euros earmarked
The worsening humanitarian emergency will also be high on the meeting’s agenda. Deputy Minister Dassù will stress that Italy intends to back up pledges announced at the donors conference in Kuwait City: an overall €22 million for 2013 earmarked for both emergency interventions as well as reconstruction and development initiatives. Among the projects undertaken in support of the civilian population, over the past week the Italian Cooperation dispatched €192,000 in aid at the border between Syria and Turkey, at the same time planning initiatives for strengthening SOC capacities to provide services in the areas under the control of the Damascus government.