By Michel Cousins.
Tripoli, 8 November 2012:
The Italian Foreign Minister, Guilio Terzi di Sant Agata, has emphasised the importance of using dialogue . . .[restrict]to bridge any cultural gap between the two countries.
Speaking at the official reopening of the refurbished Italian Embassy in Tripoli, Terzi said that he supports strong cooperation between the two countries in a range of areas, most particularly the exchange of academics.
He praised Libya’s political transition but added that democracy cannot be achieved in one day but that it is a process.
At the same event, which was organised by the Italian Cultural Institute, the third edition of the magazine ‘Papers of Dialogue’ was presented. This periodical, which is published by Agenzia Giornalistica Italia (AGI) in both English and Arabic, explained Terzi: “”will serve as a bridge between the shores of the Mediterranean, our common sea, as well as an
instrument for discussion with the entire Arab world” It would, he continued, provide a platform from which to look at and improve the knowledge of both Italian and Libyan cultures.”
Terzi went on to extol “the decisive role that free and high-quality information has in the process leading to democracy and the rule of law.” In particular, in nations that are in the process of a democratic transition such as Libya, he said: “the free circulation of information and the building dialogue, tolerance and knowledge of one’s fellow human, beings constitute a far-sighted investment, “ They are essential to preventing extremist and violent deviations, especially among young people.”
The purpose of the “Papers of Dialogue” journal, Terzi explained, “is to be an instrument that aims to favour the dialogue and in-depth examinations that belong in the constitution of nations such as Libya, which have freed themselves from oppressive regimes.”
The review was, he said: “an editorial venture that deserves to be fully encouraged and supported, because it is part of AGI’s actions to incentivise ever-greater development in Libyan journalism, which include projects to build professional expertise in Libya’s media that have also been made possible, thanks to collaboration between Libyan authorities and the Italian embassy and Foreign Ministry.”
He vowed that the publication would continue to consider contemporary, historical and cultural issues, with contributions from Arab, Italian and international writers and intellectuals.
He added that at some point in the future, conferences would be arranged under the banner of the magazine, to encourage dialogue and promote better relations between the two countries.
The Foreign Minister also paid tribute to Mohammed Nabbous, founder of the first independent news broadcasting organisation, Libya Alhurra TV. He lauded Nabbous’ contribution to the Libyan revolution. The young journalist was shot dead by a Qaddafi loyalist sniper on 19 March 2011.
Terzi said that Nabbous had been indeed the voice of free Libya and played an exceptional role in drawing attention to the revolution’s cause, by broadcasting the crimes of the regime. He said that Nabbous had laid the foundations of a free media in Libya, adding that this freedom of media should be defended.
The embassy re-opening which was attended by over 250 people, also celebrated the resumption of the Italian Cultural Institute’s activities. The Institute recently moved to Nufleen and was opened as planned on 22 September. However, the official reception was cancelled as a mark of respect for those who died during the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
Italian diplomats had been operating out of other premises since they returned in September 2011. The original ambassadorial building was torched and vandalised by forces loyal to Qaddafi in May 2011. Following the refurbishment, diplomats and support staff recently moved back into the original building overlooking the harbour, which has served as the embassy since the end of colonial times. A plaque has been erected celebrating the reopening.