Italy to lead Mideast investment initiative: Berlusconi
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday October 9 that Italy intended to take the lead in efforts to build peace in the Middle East by contributing to a "Marshall Plan" of massive public investment in the region. Berlusconi said peace would be "terribly difficult if not impossible" to achieve as long as clashes continued between Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East.
"It's not possible to wait for peace. We must prepare it and consolidate it with concrete projects," Berlusconi told the Senate during a speech to defend his government's full support for US-led strikes on Afghanistan.
"Everyone's concern must be for Palestine. As long as the Middle East pits a robust Israeli society against a desperate Palestinian society, the search for peace will be terribly difficult if not impossible," he said.
"Italy intends to take an initiative which can be part of a larger European framework to give birth to a big public investment effort on the scale and model of the Marshall Plan," Berlusconi said, though he gave no details in his short speech. The 1947 Marshall Plan was a US-sponsored plan to provide European countries with economic aid after World War II. —(AFP, Rome)
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