Syria: Italy preparing for post-Assad reconstruction, Terzi

Humanitarian aid the priority, interministerial table on Syria

03 September, 16:20

(ANSAmed) - ROME, SEPTEMBER 3 - "The fall of Assad, when it comes, must not find us unprepared," Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi told reporters on Monday.

The minister spoke at today's first Interministerial Table on Syria, which he led with the assistance of Under Secretary Marta Dassu. This follows on the August 29 meeting of the Friends of Syria core group summit in Rome.

''Along with its main partners, Italy is in the process of defining the guidelines of international action, and within this framework, of our national commitment, which is in the priority areas of humanitarian aid, economic support, and rebuilding the institutions in a post-Assad Syria,'' the minister said.

Today's meeting was attended by representatives from the Prime Minister's office and from the Interior, Justice, Defense, Economic Development, Cultural Affairs, and International Cooperation ministries. An Interministerial Work Group was appointed today to deal with objectives and means of intervention in those priority areas. The humanitarian emergency in Syria is the absolute priority for the international community and for Italy, which in the past several months, has been actively aiding Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, where it built a camp hospital and sent medical kits, and Turkey, where it has been airlifting aid in the past few hours.

The Table confirmed Italy's commitment to continuing its proactive role in the question of Syrian politics and institutional reconstruction. This means continued contact with the main European and Western partners as well as the Arab League and various components of the Syrian opposition. Terzi, who recently visited Egypt and Lebanon, begins another mission to the Middle East on Tuesday. Italy must prepare to take on an incisive role in rebuilding Syrian institutions, while fully respecting Syrian sovereignty.

Italy can be of great help in its areas of expertise, which are justice, police training, public administration management, and recovery and conservation of the country's artistic and cultural wealth. The Table also discussed economic reconstruction in Syria based on a long-standing tradition of bilateral trade, with Italy as Syria's prime European trading partner before the anti-Assad uprising began.(ANSAmed).

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