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Ukraine, Middle East and AI to be main focus of G7 - Tajani

Ukraine, Middle East and AI to be main focus of G7 - Tajani

'Helping Kyiv defend territorial integrity remains a priority'

ROME, 27 December 2023, 10:57

Redazione ANSA




Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, the Middle East crisis sparked by the October 7 Hamas attacks against Israel and artificial intelligence will be the main focus of the Italy's rotating presidency of the G7 in 2024, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Wednesday.
    "The West continues to show great solidarity with Ukraine, and the G7 that Italy will lead from January 1 will have the Ukraine issue as its main focus, in addition to the Middle East and artificial intelligence," said Tajani in an interview to the news programme Mattino Cinque.
    "For us it remains a priority to help Ukraine defend its territorial integrity," he continued, adding that "Italy continues to do its part, (by providing) all-round aid to the Ukrainians".
    "We want peace, both in Ukraine and in the Middle East. But goals need to be reached that can truly guarantee a stable basis" for negotiations, said Tajani.
    "Occupation of Ukraine is not good, so we need to reach a situation that leads the Russians to withdraw and then sit down at the (negotiating) table," he added.
    Tajani also said there have been too many Palestinian civilian deaths in the war between Hamas and Israel and insisted that the Israeli response must be "proportionate".
    "The guiding compass must be a proportionate reaction: striking Hamas, sending Hamas militants out of Gaza and achieving peace, perhaps with the interregnum of a UN presence on the ground," said Tajani.
    On last week's rejection by the Italian parliament of the ratification bill for the new European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the deputy premier, who is also leader of centre-right Forza Italia founded by the late premier Silvio Berlusconi, said the party has always been "coherent".
    "We were in favour of the ESM, which is a fund to help states in the event of a (financial) crisis, but we had reservations about the new regulation, which extends the coverage to banks," explained Tajani after FI abstained during Thursday's vote in the Lower House.
    "We said that this regulation does not provide for any control of the mechanism, meaning that money can be given (to the banks) without anyone checking," he continued.
    "There are checks when you help a state, and so there also need to be checks when you help a bank, as there are for the European Central Bank by the European Parliament," said Tajani.
    Italy had been holding out over ratification of the reform of the ESM despite strong pressure from Brussels, amid concerns over budget sovereignty and claims that the mechanism should also be used to support growth.
    Premier Giorgia Meloni also said that she first wanted to know the outcome of negotiations on the European Stability and Growth Pact, the new rules on public finance that will come into effect next year to replace the old ones suspended during the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020.
    These were agreed by EU finance ministers at an extraordinary ECOFIN meeting by video conference last Wednesday.
    Italy is the only EU member state not to have ratified the new ESM treaty.


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