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Crosetto says Italy, Israel both concerned about escalation to Lebanon

Crosetto says Italy, Israel both concerned about escalation to Lebanon

'Entire community must work' to stop it happening

ROME, 24 November 2023, 15:16

Redazione ANSA

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Rome and Tel Aviv are both concerned about a possible escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas and call on the entire community to work together to avoid it, Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said on Friday.
    "I am not the only one with concerns about a possible escalation" of the war to Lebanon, "I have found them here too", Crosetto told reporters at the Italian embassy in Tel Aviv after meeting with Israeli Defence Minister Yaov Gallant.
    "Hezbollah needs to stay out of this conflict, but it is not something we can leave Israel to do alone," he continued.
    "If we do not want there to be an escalation, the entire community must work (to prevent it), starting with the United Nations, the Arab countries and the Western countries," he added.
    Crosetto also said the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), initially established by the UN security Council in 1978 and which currently counts over 10,300 deployed personnel including around 1,000 Italian soldiers, hasn't worked.
    "On Monday I will be at the United Nations in New York: they need to decide," said the minister.
    "Either the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon still makes sense or we need to ask ourselves whether it still makes sense to keep it," he continued, suggesting that the rules of engagement need to be changed.
    "The current ones do not provide security to the contingents, so the issue must be addressed and decided," said Crosetto.
    "I'm talking about a truth operation towards a mission that has lasted 20 years, and which so far has shown, given that rockets have been going off since the start of the war, that it has not reached the goal it set itself," concluded Crosetto.
   

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