NNA – Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, told President Michel Aoun that his government will “organize a special conference to support the Lebanese armed forces, and is in the process of making the necessary contacts to ensure this conference’s success.”
He also underlined the “continued support of his government for the UNIFIL mission, in accordance with the mandate given to it under resolution 1701.”
The Italian prime minister made these remarks during his meeting today, in Rome, with President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, who is concluding his three-day State visit to Italy.
President Aoun arrived at the headquarters of the Italian government and held a meeting with the Italian Prime Minister in the presence of the Lebanese accompanying delegation and Italian officials.
Gentiloni welcomed Aoun and the accompanying delegation, saying that “Lebanon plays a prominent role in consolidating stability in the Middle East,” pointing out that “Italy is working to strengthen this role by maintaining stability, especially in the South, where an Italian contingents operates within the UNIFIL, in coordination with the Lebanese Army in the area.”
He also stressed that his government “will continue to provide assistance to Lebanon according to the program set for this purpose, and looks forward to increasing trade cooperation and contributing to the various production projects, such as electricity and oil and gas exploration, especially that the top Italian company ENI will be handling oil and gas exploration from two fields, one in southern Lebanon and another in the north.”
President Aoun, in turn, thanked his host for “the firm commitment of the Italian Government to supporting Lebanon in various fields, and its support for the country’s just causes at international forums,” shedding light on the “assistance in economic and social development, on the one hand, and the efforts to boost the Lebanese army’s ability to carry out its national duties in the best way possible, and fight terrorism, on the other hand.”
“Italy’s participation in the UNIFIL is key. Besides, Italy’s role in the United Nations has a direct impact on the decisions of the international organization,” the Head of State said.
Tackling the current political situation, President Aoun stressed that “the crisis that arose after the announcement of resignation by Prime Minister Hariri has been put behind,” focusing on “the importance of Lebanese national unity, security and financial stability.”
President Aoun also raised the issue of displaced Syrians and Lebanon’s position thereon, stressing “the need for them to return to the safe areas in Syria,” and underlining “the importance of the international community’s cooperation with Lebanon to achieve this and remove the obstacles that hinder this return, in view of the negative repercussions this reality had on the situation in Lebanon.”
Talks between the Lebanese and Italian sides touched on a number of issues that concern the two countries.
Conferees reviewed the regional situation, especially in Syria and Iraq, and they agreed to “activate the meetings and conferences to discuss a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, especially as such a solution puts an end to the suffering of the Syrian displaced persons in Lebanon.”