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MONDAY, 21 APR 2014
12:39 AM Beirut time
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Italy says short-term change in Syria crisis unlikely
Italian Deputy Defense Minister Gianluigi Magri. (Mauro Scrobogna/Lapresse)
Italian Deputy Defense Minister Gianluigi Magri. (Mauro Scrobogna/Lapresse)
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BEIRUT: Italian Deputy Defense Minister Gianluigi Magri said Tuesday the situation in Syria would remain the same in the short term, adding however that there were several steps that could be taken to resolve the 20-month-old crisis.

Speaking to reporters at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport, Magri said Rome did not see any changes in the short term period regarding the crisis in Lebanon’s neighbor but that ongoing diplomatic efforts could be fruitful.

He also said that there were numerous steps that could be taken to resolve the crisis.

His comments come after the recent formation of the Syrian Opposition Coalition in Doha, Qatar, in a bid to garner stronger international support as an alternative government for President Bashar Assad’s regime.

While in Lebanon, Magri inspected the Italian contingent of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in the south. He also met with the head of UNIFIL, Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra.

Magri said UNIFIL’s mission in the country was of great importance given that Italy has contributed more than 1,100 soldiers and that the head of the peacekeeping force is Italian.

As for the current political crisis in Lebanon, Magri said the situation was very complicated but not difficult to resolve and that there were ongoing efforts to improve conditions.

He voiced confidence in the wisdom of leaders to prevent further complications and reduce tensions.

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