Italy vows to back Lebanon in fight against terror

Italy vows to back Lebanon in fight against terror
Wed Feb 5, 2014 16:38:38

Italy's Foreign Minister Emma Bonino has held talks with President Michel Sleiman over international funds to support Lebanon and its armed forces.

Bonino, who arrived in Beirut Tuesday night, discussed with Sleiman the decisions made during the International Support Group for Lebanon last year aimed at helping the country's economy and Army cope with consequences of the Syrian crisis, the Daily Star reported on Wednesday.

The Italian foreign minister also expressed her belief that the mission to combat terrorists is very thorny, saying "there is no magical solution" to crush the terrorist groups.

The two further discussed Italy's willingness to convene a conference in Rome later this year to support the Lebanese military.

Last year, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said during a visit to Lebanon that his country would host an international conference to support the Army.

Speaking to journalists as she emerged from a meeting with Foreign Minister (of the caretaker government) Adnan Mansour, Bonino affirmed the need for the "constitutional authorities in Lebanon" to play a role in maintaining law and order across the country.

Italy will not lower the number of its peacekeepers serving in south Lebanon, she added, re-asserting Rome's keenness on supporting the local government and its legitimate authorities.

Experts say that the attacks on Hezbollah strongholds and on the Iranian embassy in Beirut, the targeted assassination of a former minister, and fresh waves of armed sectarian clashes in the northern port of Tripoli, are all signs of instability in Lebanon that will be difficult to overcome.


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