The Cohen-Tajani call. On Monday, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani (who’s also Deputy Prime Minister) spoke with his newly-appointed Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, over the phone. In renewing his congratulations for the post, Mr Tajani “reiterated the importance that Italy attaches to the security of the State of Israel and stressed our [Italy’s] commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East,” as noted in an official readout.
- On his part, Minister Cohen updated his Italian counterpart on the latest developments regarding the Abraham Accords and the Negev Forum and stressed that Israel is interested in further partnerships that promote normalising ties between Israel and Middle Eastern countries to the benefit of the entire region, reads a note from Israeli diplomacy.
The Iranian dossier. During the call, Minister Tajani again expressed concern regarding the developments in Iran and reiterated Rome’s firm condemnation of Tehran’s ongoing human rights violations. Minister Cohen thanked him for Rome’s decision to define Hezbollah’s armed wing as a terrorist organisation and expressed his hope that the same would happen with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to the Israeli note.
- Recently, the Italian FM summoned the Iranian ambassador to Italy and asked him to relay Italy’s request to cease the death sentences. Italian President Sergio Mattarella also expressed Italy’s “firm condemnation,” as well as “his personal indignation” for “the brutal repression of demonstrations and the death sentences and execution of many demonstrators”.
The Palestinian issue. The Israeli FM also conveyed his gratitude for Italy’s decision to vote against a United Nations resolution requesting the International Court of Justice to issue an official opinion on the territorial issues between Israel and Palestine concerning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
- The vote signals a change of pace on behalf of the government headed by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Growing ties. FM Tajani also announced his intention to visit Israel soon to strengthen the bilateral partnership in every area, especially economic and industrial cooperation. His counterpart reiterated that Israel is interested in promoting and expanding the “good and cordial relations” between the two countries in the fields of economy and trade, technology, innovation, culture and tourism.
- In December, Business Minister Adolfo Urso met with the Israeli Ambassador to Italy, Alon Bar. As Decode39 reported back then, the two countries are working on a bilateral government summit to be organised in Jerusalem as early as the first half of 2023, taking advantage of the good relations between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
- “For Italy, Israel represents a friendly country and a reference point at the regional level,” reads the Italian MFA note, before recalling “the important role of the large Jewish community in Italy and assuring “the utmost commitment at the national and international level in the fight against anti-Semitism.”