The Italian former Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, has declared that Iran has been brought forward to one of two ultimatums: either to take a clear stand in favour of peace and security against extremism and terrorism, showing her readiness to fight them and revealing its true intentions and its willingness to cooperate, thus removing any ambiguity on its position in this regard, in order to stop supporting, financing and sponsoring terrorism and terrorists, or confirm its stand by terrorism and the empowering of terrorists in zones of conflict.
“The decisive moment of truth has arrived, and Iran has to take a stand clearly and do away with ambiguity with regard to terrorism,” the Italian former Foreign Minister, Chairman of the Italian Society for International Organization, former Vice-President, and European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini, has told Asharq Al Awsat.
“It is by no means a secret that Iran backs and supports Houthis in Yemen, which what calls for investigating such an approach and to avert its evils from affecting the region,” he added, referring to the fact that Yemenis have earned the right to be supported and defended so that they can establish a solution for their crisis, praising the vital role played by Saudi Arabia and its allies to come up with a position, consultations and a joint international action. Amid rising fears of the GCC countries that the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program would take a hostile course, Frattini said: “Europe has been working for concluding agreements with the United States and Russia for the purpose of keeping the agreement on the Iranian Nuclear program entirely for peaceful purposes, and so we have to strongly push in the direction that this agreement maintains its initial shape, while closely monitoring any activity so that the agreement proceeds according to what has been agreed upon with the various parties.”
Speaking on the sidelines of Riyadh Forum on Countering Extremism and Fighting Terrorism, Frattini highlighted the pivotal role of Saudi Arabia in fighting terrorism, calling for a true cooperation between Islamic Alliance and its international counterpart, NATO, to curb terrorism, and acknowledging at the same time that some countries and NATO member states are still undecided. He indicated that one of the mistakes made by the West is trying to export the model of Western democracy to other countries; and that linking Islam with terrorism and extremism is a grave mistake. Frattini has called for cooperation between some Sunni Islamic countries and the Western Alliance for fighting terrorism and for expanding the frame of joint action, as well as the creation of the largest coordination world-wide to counter terrorism, with the accession of other Islamic countries and seeking to come up with a kind of cooperation with the entirety of these parties and NATO.
“We have to guide and urge generations to invest in education and clarify everything related to terrorism, while explaining that there is no connection at all between Islam as a faith, and other heavenly faiths, and terrorism and extremism; yet they have to learn and realize that terrorism and extremism are defined by disembarking on world domination and controlling resources whether it be power, energy, money and influence, as well as occupying the position of others,” Frattini added.
He affirmed that identifying religion, particularly Islam, with terrorism and extremism is a huge mistake, indicating that “there is no relationship between the terrorist attacks that are happening in the world and Islam. I personally believe that terrorism is terrorism; it completely contravenes heavenly or religious messages, for perpetrators of terrorist acts exploit the name of religion and believe they fight in the name of religion and the name of God,” pointing out that their objective is hegemony, power and money. He stressed that it’s important to embrace a new spirit of tolerance and respect; reinforce citizenship based on mutual trust; sustain partnership and better exchange of information, confidence among partners to fight crime and terrorism; and launch plans that eradicate poverty, boost development and enhance the economy; while investing in youth and education, and working mercilessly and relentlessly– not even through contact–to sever and drain all sources of terrorism financing; and to keep track of capital movement, benefiting from the special initiative of the Kingdom.
He confirmed his belief that some Islamic countries could work in conjunction with the West, through NATO for instance, putting into action all existing partnerships, which will necessitate collective action and collaboration on the part of all, noting that Islamic Alliance for Fighting Terrorism under Saudi leadership represents the right step for fighting terrorism.
On the other hand, Frattini believed that one of the most important mistakes the West has committed is its attempt to export the model of Western democracy to other states. He stressed the importance of reactivating partnership, cooperation, exchange of expertise, and cooperation in a more reliable way, noting that some EU members are ineffective in pumping and exchanging information and in cooperating more reliably, and he indicated that military solution alone is complementary rather than being exclusive in fighting terrorism.
He stressed the need for concerted efforts to provide education, improve the living standards, instill confidence and hope, in an attractive and desirable manner, in future generations, promote the economy and development, provide support and reaching out through all available channels, coordinate across various services, including the Internet, and cooperate in effective monitoring of any suspicious aggressive terrorist activity.
Asharq Al Awsat, 26 May 2017
Riyadh: Fath El-Rahman Al-Yousef