|February 6, 2013 – Rome – An AJC leadership
delegation concluded a two-day visit to Rome on Wednesday.
The delegation met for 75 minutes with Foreign
Minister Giulio Terzi, as well as former Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, a
leading candidate to become the next NATO Secretary-General. Others with whom
the group met were Member of Parliament and top advisor to former Prime
Minister (and current candidate) Silvio Berlusconi Gianni Letta, Israeli
Ambassador to Italy Naor Gilon, who hosted a dinner for AJC with leading
dignitaries of the major political parties, and the Coordinator of the Middle
East Peace Process, Marco Carnelos.
"We came to Italy to discuss a number of items
high on the AJC agenda," explained AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"The issues included the disappointing 'yes' vote on the recent
Palestinian upgrade bid at the UN, as Italy had been widely expected to
abstain, as well as Iran's nuclear program, upheaval in the Arab world, and
relations with Israel. Italy has enjoyed deepening ties with Jerusalem, as well
as long-standing and close links with Washington."
AJC arrived in Italy as Bulgarian authorities
released a report implicating Hezbollah in a July attack in Burgas, Bulgaria
that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver. In light of
the findings of the Bulgarian investigation, not to mention Hezbollah's long
record of terrorist activity around the world, AJC again called upon the EU to
add the group to its list of terrorist organizations. The issue was discussed
by the AJC delegation in Rome.
Meetings in the Italian capital followed
immediately after AJC's five-country Board of Governors Institute. The trip
included stops in Athens, Amman, Jerusalem, Berlin and Paris.
AJC leaders held consultations in the various
cities with King Abdullah II of Jordan and his foreign minister; Prime Minister
Antonis Samaras of Greece and five Cabinet members; Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres of Israel; Foreign Minister Guido
Westerwelle of Germany and the Diplomatic Adviser to the Chancellor, Christoph
Heusgen; Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Interior Minister Manuel Valls of
Lisa Palmieri-Billig serves as AJC's representative
in Rome and liaison to the Holy See.