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Italy to Host Talks on Post-Assad Syria

posted Aug 26, 2012, 5:28 AM by Syrian Transition   [ updated Aug 26, 2012, 5:28 AM ]
25 August 2012 (AFP) Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said on Thursday that Italy will host international talks "in the coming days" on the future of Syria after President Bashar Assad leaves power.

Italy "has proposed informal talks in Rome in the next few days with a group of allies and partner countries to discuss international roles and responsibilities in Syria after Assad," Terzi wrote in La Repubblica daily.

"The talks will concern aspects of security, institution building, economic reconstruction and humanitarian aspects," the minister said.

Contacted by Agence France Presse, the foreign ministry said the meeting "will be held next week in Rome at a level of senior officials from like-minded countries."

Terzi said that the downfall of Assad was "inevitable" and the international community had "a moral duty" to support the democratic process.

He also warned that "an incomplete democratic transition would condemn Syria to prolonged instability and leave the field open to external interference" by militant groups or regional powers like Iran.

This instability would also increase "the danger of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as Syria holds the biggest arsenal of chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East," he said.