President Rivlin meets Italian PM Conte, continues Vatican and Rome visit

November 18, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has met with the Prime Minister of Italy, Guiseppe Conte.

President Rivlin and Prime Minister Conte
Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Their meeting on Friday dealt with regional issues in light of the changing situation in the Middle East, and with the shared wish to extend the warm relations between Israel and Italy.

The President and the Prime Minister discussed the possibility of cooperation over a wide range of issues, including intelligence, cyber, counter-terrorism and space.

In their discussion of the region, the two talked about developments and the challenges Israel faces at this point. On the question of Iranian nuclear development, the president emphasized that it is important that pressure from the United States is backed up by international support, in order to halt Iran’s negative activities and that “western countries must not give Iran an economic or political life-line.”

The president added that western states must demand the IAEA investigate the Iranian atomic archive and demand that Iranian transfers of missiles to Syria and Lebanon stop. “These transfers are also a threat to Europe, where Iran is promoting terrorist infrastructure,” said the president.

Regarding the situation on the Israeli-Lebanese border, the president thanked the prime minister for the significant Italian contribution of around a thousand troops to the UNIFIL peacekeeping force, who serve under an Italian general. The president said that Israel views the strengthening of Hezbollah with concern and that “Lebanon will bear the responsibility and the consequences if the security of our region is undermined.”

Discussing Gaza, the president stressed that Israel will not permit the firing of missiles on inhabited areas or civilian targets and that Hamas escalates the situation time after time, cynically exploiting the suffering of the population of Gaza. “There is no country in the world that would accept the rocket fire and terrorist activity that Hamas is responsible for. The incessant rocket fire puts all Israeli citizens at risk and the world must respond forcefully to this wicked behaviour. We will not stand by while Hamas undermines stability and civilians are harmed.” The president said that the cessation of violence and terrorism could allow improvements in daily life for civilians, but stressed that before any such move Israel is committed to the return of its civilians and soldiers held by Hamas against all humanitarian norms.

Discussing developments in Israeli society, the president stressed that Israel is a democratic and Jewish state and that we cannot even imagine living in our country without the interweaving of democratic and Jewish identity that ensures equality of opportunity and rights for all its citizens.

The president also met with the President of UCEI, the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy, Noemi Di Segni, and discussed the warm relations between the Jewish communities of Israel and Italy. The Italian Jewish communities have some 25,000 members, and the assessment is that there are some 30,000 Jews in Italy. The largest Jewish community is in Rome, followed by Milan and there are smaller communities in Turin, Florence, Venice and Naples.

President Rivlin also met President of Italy Sergio Mattarella and discussed the strong relations between Italy and Israel, and the plans to develop and strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

After Shabbat, President and Mrs Rivlin returned to Israel.


One Response to “President Rivlin meets Italian PM Conte, continues Vatican and Rome visit”
  1. Lynne Newngton says:

    Where ever you go it’s all a matter of trust and after the dark secrets of a past Secretary of the United Nations of all people……how would you ever really know is my question.

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