ROME, Italy, February 1, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In the heart of the Arab Spring countries, the first regional tour by Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi’s Special Envoy for the Mediterranean and Middle East, Maurizio Massari, is now under way. The first stop will be Morocco – a key partner in the Maghreb, a 5+5 member and a supporter, with the EU, of a line offering full support to the Arab League on Syria. In Rabat and Casablanca Massari will meet numerous government representatives including the Minister for the Economy and Finance, Nizar Baraka; the Minister with delegated authority for Foreign Affairs, Youssef Amrani; the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Karim Ghellab; and representatives of Morocco’s business community, media and civil society.
Terzi’s envoy will then travel to Tunisia and Egypt in the week beginning 6 February. His goal is to establish even closer relations with these close partners of Italy, who are currently engaged in opening up their countries to the democratisation process. Massari’s tour, which will also take in Algeria and Libya, takes place in the run-up to the 5+5 and Foromed Ministerial scheduled for 20 February 2012 in Rome. The meetings will be co-chaired by the head of Italian diplomacy, Giulio Terzi, and his Tunisian counterpart.
Terzi has also given his Special Envoy the task of canvassing our North African partners for ideas to step up the regional dialogue, starting with the 5+5 meeting. One aim here is to draw the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean closer together.
Massari’s remit also includes Syria, with a meeting with the Arab League scheduled during his visit to Cairo.
The Envoy will also be visiting Ankara to establish even closer liaison with Turkey, as a follow-up to Terzi’s contacts with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.
Italy – Ministry of Foreign Affairs