DFM Ayalon meets with senior Italian officials to discuss the situation in the Middle East and Iranian sanctions, and receives support for the Israeli flotilla investigation.

 DFM Ayalon meets with senior Italian officials


DepFM Ayalon meeting with President of the Italian Parliament Gianfranco Fini (Photo: MFA)

(Communicated by the Bureau of Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon)

Today, (Wednesday, 16th June), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met with senior Italian officials to discuss the Iranian sanctions, the situation in the Middle East and bilateral relations. The Deputy Foreign Minister met with the President of the Italian Parliament Gianfranco Fini, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Stephania Craxi and opposition leader Enrico Letta, amongst others.

Ayalon discussed the recent events concerning the flotilla and the blockade of Gaza. The Italian officials expressed their support for the Israeli investigation into the events surrounding the flotilla and expressed understanding of Israel’s position vis-à-vis the legal blockade of Gaza. The Deputy Foreign Minister thanked his hosts for their expressions of support for Israel’s right to self-defense.

Referring to the blockade on Gaza, Ayalon said: "Unfortunately, Hamas has established a blockade on the Palestinian people in Gaza. The future of the blockade depends solely on Hamas. The moment that they adhere to the three principles that the international community established, the blockade will end."

Nevertheless, the Deputy Foreign Minister explained that attention should not be diverted from the issue of Iran. "Everything negative in the region emanates from Iran and they remain the true threat to the all the people in the region, including the Lebanese and Palestinian people," Ayalon continued. "Iran will continue to do everything possible to prevent progress towards peace in the region."

With this in mind, Ayalon called on Italy and the European Parliament to implement further sanctions on Iran. "We should take advantage of the latest United Nations Security Council resolution and provide a secondary layer of sanctions through the European Parliament and national parliaments, like Italy," Ayalon told the Italian officials. "We would also like to see more countries follow the lead of the Dutch Parliament and the U.S. Congress by designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity."