Rome, 30 July (AKI) – The Muslim Brotherhood shows that political Islam has failed, but the Islamist movement cannot be excluded from Egypt’s democratic transition, former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Tuesday. “Morsi represents the failure of political Islam,” Frattini told AKI, referring to Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, who was removed by the army on 3 July after millions took part in protests against his rule. ”But this doesn’t signify the exclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood, who must be involved in the transition to democracy,” he added. Hardline Islamic groups could fill a power vacuum left by the Muslim Brotherhood’s exclusion from politics, Frattini warned. ”A country like Egypt with a population of 80 million people cannot be left in the hands of Salafite extremists, who could get the upper hand,” he said. Morsi rose through the ranks of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement that was banned for decades, becoming chairman of its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party. He narrowly won the presidential vote in June 2012, becoming Egypt’s first democratically elected president. That election, which was generally considered free and fair, followed a turbulent period of military rule after long-time leader Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011.
Mideast: Italy has unique role to play in region and offers example of balance says ex-minister
Rome, 30 July (AKI) – Italy plays a “unique role” in the Middle East, where it shows the same friendship to Palestinians Israelis and Turks and Egyptians alike, according to Italy’s former foreign minister Franco Frattini. “It is one of the very few European countries that can talk with the same degree of friendship to Palestinians, Israelis and Turks,” Frattini told Adnkronos International (AKI). “Italy can talk to Egyptians, but at the same time can deploy a contingent in Lebanon to guarantee that Hezbollah doesn’t engage in arms proliferation to the detriment of Israel,” he said, referring to the militant Shia group. “It’s a unique role,” added Frattini, who is president of The Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI), a non-profit organisation operating under the auspices of the Italian foreign ministry.Italy plays a strategic role in the region and a leading one in the areas of health and water resources, he stressed. “I think that Italy offers a good example for a balanced Europe that is not just on one side.”
Mideast: Former Italian foreign minister says information on region ‘vital’, lauds Adnkronos International news agency
Rome, 30 July (AKI) – As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began intensive talks in Washington on Tuesday aimed at reviving the moribund peace process, ex-Italian foreign minister
Franco Frattini said information on the Middle East was vital and praised Italian news agency Adnkronos International (AKI)’s role in this regard. “Today the world’s destiny is being played out in the Mediterranean region,” Frattini told AKI in an interview in Rome. “AKI adds value and through it, cultural institutions and embassies, it is true to say Italy is the region’s natural partner, with which our Arab friends can work,” said Frattini. “Information is an important and delicate topic. The so-called Arab revolutions are being spawned by young, courageous bloggers including women who have denounced oppression,” Frattini stated. Political Islam has failed precisely because it has fallen short of the expectations of its supporters and has failed to bring about change at the speed they hoped for, Frattini argued. “News travels faster than policy and the bloggers who thought they had won their dignity have been disappointed by the politicians.” “They have taken people’s votes and gained the backing of the World Wide Web but once in power they have not wrought the rapid change that mainstream and social media demanded,” he said. While western countries can’t formulate a model of democracy for the Arab world, information is key to this process, according to Frattini. “Information is the most important means of transmission of ‘positive messages’, for example on the role of women and the integration of young people in society. Only with an incessant flow of information can cultures develop,” he concluded. He is president of The Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI), a non-profit organisation operating under the auspices of the Italian foreign ministry and served as foreign minister in two governments led by former premier Silvio Berlusconi.
Tunisia: Frattini urges strong commitment to democratic transition model
Rome, 30 July (AKI) – The international community is calling on Tunisia for a strong commitment to the transition to democracy after the slayings of two opposition leaders former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said on Tuesday. “We are urging a strong commitment and view Tunisia as a ‘positive model’ in the process, Frattini told Adnkronos International (AKI). “It is important that the government has called elections on 17 December,” he added. The outcome of the so-called Arab Spring which brought Islamist parties to power in Tunisia and Egypt had been “very disappointing”, Frattini said. “The only positive aspect is that dictators have fallen who traded security with the West and crushed human rights.” The Arab Spring, began with the Tunisian revolution that ousted longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 and led to the overthrow of longtime rulers in Libya and Egypt the same year.