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Italy committed to peace, stability in Lebanon: envoy

Morabito, center, Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb, right and MP Ali Bazzi, left, celebrate the Italian National Day at the Italian Embassy in Baabda on June 2, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito said Monday that his country would continue to support Lebanon’s stability through its participation in the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

Italy remains committed to Lebanon’s peace and stability, through our participation in UNIFIL, through the development cooperation programs financed by the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry, and through our political support in different international fora: the EU, the United Nations and the International Support Group for Lebanon,” Morabito said during a reception at the Italian Embassy in Baabda on the occasion of the Italian National Day.

“In the framework of the ISG Italy will host June 17 in Rome a ministerial conference in support of the Lebanese Armed Forces. The Lebanese Armed Forces and the security institutions play an essential role, not only in implementing Resolution 1701, but for Lebanon’s stability and unity and also in the fight against terrorism. Both are a great concern for us,” he added.

Launched by former President Michel Sleiman and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last year, the ISG aims to support Lebanese institutions as the country grapples with more than a million Syrian refugees.

Morabito said Italy was pleased with the formation of Lebanon’s government in February, adding that he hoped Parliament would elect a new president as soon as possible.

“ Italy welcomed the formation of the new inclusive government led by Prime Minister Tammam Salam. We do really hope that the Lebanese Parliament will be able to elect without delay the president of the republic; we believe that this is a Lebanese process and foreign interference could be harmful,” the envoy added.

Morabito said this was the last Italian National Day he would celebrate in Beirut.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 03, 2014, on page 3.

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