Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi and Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola together expressed their full satisfaction with the decision by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to appoint Division General Paolo Serra Commander of the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon, where Italy maintains a contingent of more than 1,000 troops.
The appointment of such a highly skilled and accomplished officer as General Serra – following two years on from the completion of General Claudio Graziano’s mandate – is a source of deep pride for Italy and bears significant witness to the esteem and trust accorded our armed forces, which have been acknowledged by international partners and the peoples with whom they have come into contact, as bringing an Italian “style” to the manner in which they conduct operations that has long served as a model in the management of international missions.
The appointment of General Serra, Ministers Terzi and Di Paola asserted, at the same time constitutes distinguished acknowledgement of our country’s contribution to the United Nations peacekeeping missions. The essential goal of Italy’s security policy, as the top G8 contributor of troops to UN-led missions, is to maintain an effective military presence in crisis theatres, in accordance with our foreign policy priorities and in fulfillment of our pledges to the United Nations and our principal partners. Indeed, Terzi and Di Paola recalled, Italy remains the sixth largest contributor to the UN’s budget for peacekeeping missions.
Within this context, t he two ministers underscored that Italy reiterates its convinced determination to pursue and ensure a frontline contribution to implementing Resolution 1701, which describes the mandate and tasks of the UNIFIL mission. Deployed for the purpose of ensuring maintenance of the ceasefire in southern Lebanon after the 2006 war, with the necessary and full consent of the parties concerned, UNIFIL has proven its lasting validity over the years. Indeed, it has continued to effectively pursue its goal of stabilization by preventing the escalation of violence in the region and ensuring the development of a 3-party talks that involve the UN, the Lebanese armed forces and the Israeli armed forces.
Serra’s appointment – Terzi and Di Paolaconcluded – is, therefore, significant confirmation of the political and strategic importance of Italy’s active role in furthering stability and security in the Mediterranean and Middle East, the dynamics of which are of vital importance to international security.