BEIRUT: Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Federica Mogherini will visit June 7 and 8 to prepare for the International Support Group for Lebanon's conference to be held in Rome on June 17, the Italian embassy announced Friday.
The event, which was arranged last September by former President Michel Sleiman and U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon, aims to secure funds and assistance for the Lebanese Army.
Mogherini will be meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri, Defense Minister Samir Mokbel, Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil, Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwaji and Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai.
The minister’s schedule will also include visits to Italy’s UNIFIL contingent in the south, as well as Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. In parallel, U.S. Center Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin III and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale met Kahwaji Friday, discussing aid plans to be executed in the coming months.
Lebanese Minister Gebran Bassil had addressed the China-Arab ministerial conference Thursday calling for an active participation in the Rome conference. He stressed the Army’s role in combatting terrorism and protecting state sovereignty.