In talks with Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bou Habib in Rome on Friday, Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio voiced "concern" at Lebanon's dire economic crisis, urging its government to rapidly adopt reforms.
"Minister Di Maio recalled the traditional bonds of friendship that unite Italy to Lebanon, which is a fundamental partner and a key country for the stability of the Middle East," read a foreign ministry statement.
"He went on to express concern about the serious economic situation in Lebanon, and encouraged the Lebanese government to adopt the reforms necessary to overcome the crisis and to hold elections without delay," the statement underlined.
Di Maio and Buo Habib held talks on the sidelines of the Rome Med 2021 Mediterranean Dialogues Forum in Rome.
During the talks, Di Maio confirmed Italy’s determination to support Lebanon’s security and stability, both through participation in the Italian-commanded UNIFIL peacekeeping mission, and via Italy’s MIBIL bilateral training mission, the statement said.
Di Maio also highlighted the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)'s "significant commitment" in favour of Lebanon, including in the aftermath of the devastating explosions at the Port of Beirut in 2020, according to the statement.
Wrapping up their talks, Di Maio and Bou Habib looked at the main issues facing the Middle East and expressed hope that "a climate of collaboration can be re-established in the region," said the statement.