Italy’s president pledges support to Israel


ROME (JTA) — Italy’s president stressed his country’s support for Israel and said the European Union would "do its part" to help bring peace in the Middle East.

President Giorgio Napolitano made his remarks Monday to representatives of the Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, with whom he met at the presidential palace shortly before leaving on an official visit to Lebanon.

Keren Hayesod’s three-day International Leadership Reunion of mega-donors ends Tuesday.

Italy and Israel, Napolitano said, had a "friendship that transcends traditional political constraints, diplomatic or economic relations between states."

Israel, he said, "can always count — in the complicated path to peace — on the strong support of Italy, which is shared by all the parliamentary forces and public opinion, and is driven by feelings of genuine sympathy and solidarity."

Napolitano urged Israel to have faith in the European Union and its aspirations.

Europe, he said, "intends to further its efforts to do its part to promote peace in the Middle East in the awareness that this is an essential step for the stability of the area and the entire world."

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