Arab uprisings:Ups and downs but transition started, Massari

Italy can play important role, stimulate EU response

18 April, 18:44

(ANSAmed) - ROME, APRIL 18 - ''The democratic transition in progress in the Arab Spring countries has its ups and downs. The process must be analysed case by case, but fundamentally it has started." This statement was made by the Italian foreign ministry's special envoy for the Mediterranean area and the Arab Spring, Maurizio Massari, during a hearing in the Chamber Foreign Affairs Commission on the goals of Italy's Mediterranean policies regarding a new balance in the region. Massari, pointing out that the transition in Tunisia and Morocco, unlike the situation in Egypt and Libya, is ''well underway'', underlined ''the need to respond bilaterally to the strong demand for Italy in these countries'' because ''strengthening the Arab democracies is in Italy's interest, both economically and from a security viewpoint.'' Moreover, he added, Italy ''can play a more important role by being present (for the transfer of know-how, support to local SMEs) than by giving financial assistance, also considering the limited available resources." Massari also mentioned the importance of ''stimulating the response from the EU, which the Arab Spring countries consider to be weak so far." For that reason, the plenipotentiary minister has proposed ''to make Italy sponsor of a group of 'friends of the Mediterranean', in order to help the EU develop a more ambitious vision." Massari also announced a meeting of a Euro-Atlantic workgroup on monitoring the democratic transitions in the Mediterranean. The meeting will be held on May 7 in Rome.

(ANSAmed).

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