Palermo - Tunisia is an essential and irreplaceable interlocutor for our country. Italy stands beside the Tunisian government and supports its spirit of reform, essential in the fight against extremism. Tunisian democracy is a pearl worth defending, a model born from the Arab Spring, the only one that succeeded and for this reason it must be protected". Said, this morning, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfano, at Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo, in occasion of the launch of "Italia, Culture, Mediterraneo (Italy, Cultures, Mediterranean)", a cultural program that will be developed in the Middle East and North Africa in 2018, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its network abroad. The event was attended by the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khemaies Jhinaoui. "To avoid the risks that Europe has experienced in the past Alfano added we must invest in culture and art, antidotes against those demons, using dialog and shared values. This is why this is both a cultural and a political event". The opposite shores of the Mediterranean "are geographically close, but still too far apart in terms of understanding each other and the strategic value of cooperation, essential to bridge that distance that creates fertile ground for terrorism, fanaticism and populism. The distance must be bridged, and Tunisia is an essential and irreplaceable interlocutor for our country".