Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino (right) presenting the Mela d’Oro 2013 award to Libyan activist Alaa Murabit
During the Belisario Award ceremony on Thursday evening in Rome, Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said that Italy would be taking on the responsibility not only to help Libya but also to look out after Italian interests.
She made this statement at the ceremony in which Italy presented the Mela D'Oro 2013 award to Alaa Murabit, a Libyan human rights activist, and in response to the US President's request at the recent G8 for Italy to assist Libya.
The award is presented annually to 12 women who excel during the year.
'”We will do everything we can. Libya is a country with which we have a long history,” the minister said
The first step towards this affirmation will be on July 4, when Libyan Prime Minister Dr Ali Zidan - who had also been invited to the recent G8 in Northern Ireland - and a number of other Libyan ministers, will be visiting Rome.
At the G8 Summit, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta announced Italy would play an active role in Libya with actions aimed at supporting the democratic transition and economic development and to encourage Libyans to continue the reconciliation process and constitutional reform in a peaceful and inclusive manner.
The Italian leader went on to say that Italy would implement a three-pronged strategy: military training - some of it conducted within the country and some abroad; assistance with building efficient institutions, including the Coast Guard division; and the collection of weapons, as there are still too many in disparate hands in many parts of Libya.
The Italian Ambassador to the UN, Cesare Maria Ragaglini, also confirmed Italy's commitment in Libya that has focused on security and border control as well as activities for job creation and the development of civil society, with over 56 million Euros going towards diverse projects, ranging from bolstering governance to cultural heritage protection.