In early December 2017, President Donald Trump expressed his willingness to put into effect his presidential campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thereby moving the United States embassy there from Tel Aviv. Subsequently, he confirmed his intention notwithstanding the fact that it was met with criticisms, and even protests and open hostility, by many States and it caused peaceful as well as violent manifestations of dissent in the Middle East. Disapproval of President Trump’s decision was also voiced by Italy. On 7 December 2017, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Angelino Alfano, issued the following statement:
In the last quarter of 2015 the Government reported twice before the Chamber of Deputies on its arms sales policy to certain Middle East countries allegedly involved in illicit arms trafficking with ISIL/Daesh. The Government also explained which measures and actions Italy has undertaken in the fight against ISIL and foreign terrorist fighters. The most salient points from the two speeches follow:
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 274th MEETING, 29 JULY 2014.
On 29 July 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, delivered a speech before the plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament on the conflict between Hamas and Israel. After expressing sorrow, on behalf of the Italian Government and people, for the casualties suffered on both sides, she highlighted the complexity of the conflict. Thus, to avoid any oversimplification, she briefly illustrated the political context of the whole region, showing how much the situations of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Jordan are interrelated. Then, referring to the end of the “Skyes-Picot order”, she called all the Middle-Eastern actors to assume direct and shared responsibility in the regional politics, together with Italy and Europe. Pointing out that the conflict cannot be examined through biased eyes, and that the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians – respectively, to live in peace and security and to have a sovereign State – are legitimate, she added:
SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, XVII LEGISLATURE, 223rd AND 224th MEETINGS, 3 APRIL 2014.
In the framework of a discussion about some motions that promoted initiatives in favour of the Sahrawi people, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Pistelli, intervened to clarify the Italian position. The Undersecretary renewed the country’s support to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (UN MINURSO) and called for a continued bilateral and reinforced multilateral – and EU led – cooperation to solve the conflict.
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES AND SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, 3rd AND 4th JOINT COMMISSIONS, MEETING OF 16 JANUARY 2014
On 16 January 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino, accompanied by the Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, Maurizio Lupi, and the Director-General of OPAC, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, reported before the III and IV Commissions of the Chamber of Deputies and the Third and Fourth Commissions of the Senate of the Republic on the steps undertaken by Italy in the context of the international operation for the disarmament of Syria and the destruction of its chemical arsenal. The Minister then expressed Italy’s will to create a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East.
After Mr Lupi recalled OPAC decision of 27 September 2013 on destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and UN Security Council Resolution 2118 (2013) and explained the reasons which led the Italian Government to choose the Gioia Tauro harbour for the transshipment of chemical material from Syria, Ms Bonino stated:
Both the Security Council resolutions and the decision of the OPAC Executive Council have already been recalled. I believe that the offer of an Italian harbour for a mere operation of transshipment integrates into the policy followed by the Italian government since the beginning, namely that of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict, and not into other initiatives also envisaged.
I also believe, on the basis of ongoing consultations, that this opens a wider perspective into the common agreement reached by all States parties to the Non-proliferation Treaty to create a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East.
As you know, this possibility, which dates back a long way, is now materialising with greater awareness. Syrian accession to the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons represents a significant step also in this direction.
Let me add that in this context and for the purpose of this initiative, namely the one of establishing a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East, the Finnish facilitator, Mr Laajava, will be in Italy on Monday for consultations, in order for us to get started on the preparation of a conference in this respect.
Italy thus takes part in this international effort and in this endeavour to destroy chemical weapons, that we consider the starting point to get to a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
The Italian version of the statement can be downloaded here or found at: http://documenti.camera.it/leg17/resoconti/commissioni/stenografici/pdf/0304c0304/indag/c0304_disarmo/2014/01/16/leg.17.stencomm.data20140116.U1.com0304c0304.indag.c0304_disarmo.0001.pdf.
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 44th MEETING, 2 JULY 2013.
On 2 July 2013 the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Lapo Pistelli answered a parliamentary question relating to North Korean aggressive rhetoric and provocations that took place between December 2012 and April 2013. He highlighted the centrality of Security Council resolution 2094 (2013) and the fundamental importance of operating within the frameworks of the NATO and G8 and in cooperation with the European partners when dealing with such issues of international concern as Pyongyang’s nuclear threats and systematic violations of human rights.
PLENARY MEETING OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS ON THE QUESTION OF EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION ON AND INCREASE IN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE COUNCIL, 27 JUNE 2013.
On 27 June 2013, Amb. Cesar Maria Ragaglini, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, took position, also on behalf of the United for Consensus Group, on the proposals on the reform of the Security Council. He stated: