Rome - Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Friday highlighted the need to build a new regional order in the Mediterranean basin in keeping with the latest development inside and outside the region. To stabilize the crises in North Africa and build a positive agenda for both shores of the Mediterranean Sea is of crucial importance for Europe and Africa, he said at the closing session of the third Med-Mediterranean Dialogues (Rome Med 2017).
The three-day event, co-organized by the Italian Foreign Ministry and the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), gathered representatives of 56 countries and 80 international think-tanks, including 45 heads of state and government, ministers and leaders of international organisations. During the just-ended dialogues, the conferees showed a shared interest in addressing the geopolitical challenges in the region and maintain the region's strategic centrality, Gentiloni pointed out. The Mediterranean undergoes a historic stage where the old orders, resulting from the Sykes-Picot Agreement in the region and the world, are apparently diminishing as imperialism did, he argued.
The Italian Premier regretted the emergence of failed states in the region and the dwindling role of the Western countries. He noted that his Med initiative aims to restore the strategic centrality to the region and end the factors of instability and chaos, and enable the region to resume its historical role. The factors of instability include, inter alia, the extra-territorial ambitions, interferences in other states' affairs, manipulation of religious and ideological differences, fundamentalism, xenophobia, illegal migration, and human trafficking, he explained.
The region, once cradle of civilization, has become a flashpoint of numerous social, political and armed conflicts, Gentiloni regretted. He stressed the need to work together for establishing a new order based on neighborliness, understanding and reciprocity. On the nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran, he expressed hope that the win-win deal will survive a crisis looming large. Regarding the crisis in Syria, the Italian Prime Minister said the recent defeat of terrorist groups, such as the so-called Islamic State (IS), provided ground for the United Nations to play a role in facilitating negotiation on a genuine political settlement. Stability in Syria will impact positively on other neighboring countries, notably Lebanon, he pointed out.
The conferees debated the issues of prosperity, security, migration and civil society and culture. They explored the scenarios following the Syrian government taking back of Raqqa from the IS and Iraqi forces regaining of Mosul. They also reviewed the common security strategies, fighting terrorism, new strategies to manage migration flows, energy and international trade in the area. A special focus was dedicated to some of the region's key countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Egypt, Iraq and Libya.
Key speakers at the gathering include Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, and the ISPI President Giampiero Massolo. The attendees included the foreign ministers of Iran, Iraq, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger and India, the Deputy Prime Minister of Libya, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, the Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmad Abul Gheit, the UN Special Representative for Libya Ghassan Salame and Kuwait Ambassador to Italy Sheikh Ali Al-Sabah.