EDITORIAL
from issue no. 05 - 2010

Mare Nostrum


Our rule is that in relationships with others we should not consider ourselves either higher or lower, but always maintain a dialogue, which must be respectful towards our interlocutors, but also require from them an attitude of openness and trust in our regard. We are a Mediterranean country, and relations with countries which like us face onto the Mare Nostrum have always been important


Giulio Andreotti


Giulio Andreotti and Muammar Gaddafi signing the Italy-Libya cooperation agreement, Tripoli, June 1991

Giulio Andreotti and Muammar Gaddafi signing the Italy-Libya cooperation agreement, Tripoli, June 1991

The Italian tradition of relations with other countries is one of understanding, civility, communication, especially with neighbors, with whom a universal rule states that they are harder to get along with than people who are far off.
Our rule is that in relationships with others we should not consider ourselves either higher or lower, but always maintain a dialogue, which must be respectful towards our interlocutors, but also require from them an attitude of openness and trust in our regard.
We are a Mediterranean country, and relations with countries which like us face onto the Mare Nostrum have always been important.
With Libya, for example, the approach has always been that of respect for UN rules, but within these markers we have always rejected a priori hostility and demonization of Gaddafi.
It is not just a matter of economic interests to be defended, but of a cultural furrow which has to be part of our considerations, something evinced by a long tradition of migration in one direction and the other of a mixed population whose needs cannot be forgotten.
Looking at our history we note not only the common roots and moments of convergence, but also moments of divergence, which have created problems that still need to be addressed bilaterally and not neglected. The Treaty of friendship between Italy and Libya in 2008 was a further step of a long journey begun many years ago that enables us to look with hope to the future in the conviction that, even if problems can still arise, they can be removed through the goodwill of both. Moreover we must not forget that the geographical location of Libya is such that, however things go on this and on the other side of the Mediterranean, the Arab Jamahiriya will always have its weight.
It is no coincidence that in recent years Libya has always played the role of buffer to the fundamentalist tendencies in the area because it is a people with features which distinguish it from others, something that has prevented fundamentalism from taking root and that obliges us to look at them carefully. On more than one occasion I have stressed that, significantly, Gaddafi was the first to issue an arrest warrant for bin Laden. But also his social and religious thinking, expressed in the Green Book, has played a role: I remember that already during our first meeting in 1978 (a meeting wanted by Carter and Sadat in order to persuade Gaddafi to accept the Camp David agreement, a confirmation that sometimes the dialogue that Italy maintains with all Arab countries does not displease) I had the opportunity to read his Green Book of doctrinal theorization of Islamic religious socialism, and I was impressed by the stress given to the concern the individual must show not only for other individuals, but for the whole community. An insistence on the associative and participatory tendencies I have rarely found in other texts and that finds application in Libya.
The accusations against Libya, that got into the headlines last month, are not new, allegations of not respecting human rights in countering illegal immigration. They are allegations, however, in which I find also reflected an underlying prejudice against Gaddafi that hinders objective judgment. For his part, Gaddafi has done nothing to prevent the hostilities towards him, indeed it sometimes seems he stimulates it in the media or that he welcomes it. Whereas, in all the meetings with him, I have always had the impression that his character was such that while wanting to emphasize his particular features, he sought and was glad to find points of encounter with his interlocutors and not just points of divergence.


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