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Italian prime minister visits Israel, Palestine

April 8, 2012 9:14 A.M. (Updated: April 8, 2012 4:59 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The prime minister of Italy will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories on Sunday, in the second leg of a Middle East tour.

"(Mario) Monti will confirm to the Palestinians and Israelis that the new Italian government cares about the situation in the Middle East, namely the Question of Palestine," Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told Ma'an.

"Monti will confirm to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas that Italy is committed to the European stance calling for a two-state solution," he added.

The Italian premier will meet first with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before arriving in Ramallah to meet President Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Monti, who formally served as a European Commissioner, was sworn in as Italian prime minister in November 2011.

President Abbas is also due to start an international tour in Asia next week to mobilize support for the Palestinian Authority, al-Malki added.

The President will visit Japan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, including a visit to areas of Japan devastated by an earthquake in 2011.
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