ROME, Italy, September 14, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ ? The support of Italy, Europe and the international community for the democratic transition processes taking place in the Arab Spring countries and collaboration in combating the trafficking of human beings in the Mediterranean. These were the main issues on the agenda for the talks at the Farnesina this morning, 13 September 2012, between Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and his Tunisian colleague, Rafik Abdessalem.

Minister Terzi reiterated to his Tunisian colleague Italy?s firm intention to support the democratic transition process in Tunisia and strengthen a system based on full respect for the fundamental human rights. Italy?s support takes the form, inter alia, of Italian Development Cooperation?s initiatives to foster growth in employment and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. It is set within the framework of the Joint Declaration signed by the two Ministers on 16 May 2012, establishing an Enhanced Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

After his visit to Rome Minister Abdessalem will be travelling to Lampedusa. Minister Terzi once again expressed his condolences and solidarity over the recent tragic shipwreck that caused the death of an as yet unknown number of Tunisian citizens. Minister Abdessalem thanked Terzi for the Italian authorities? efforts to help the victims.

After the SOS was issued, the Italian harbour authorities and Finance Police dispatched boats and aircraft to help the shipwrecked. Thanks to the prompt action by these and by three NATO ships ? one Italian, one German and one Turkish ? 56 Tunisians were saved. A helicopter was used to take the injured to safety and treatment.

The two ministers confirmed the priority status placed by their governments on collaboration to prevent and combat the trafficking of human beings in order to ensure that such dramatic and tragic events are not repeated.


Italy ? Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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