Washington, April 20 - This is the year that Daesh (ISIS) can be defeated, Premier Paolo Gentiloni said in a speech at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic & International studies (CSIS) Thursday. Fighting terrorism and in particular "uprooting Daesh" is one of the top priorities in the Mediterranean area, he said. Libya is a priority after past mistakes, Gentiloni said. "Libya remains top of our priorities, a country in which the errors of our past vision are clearer. The Italy-US partnership is not only an opportunity but a duty," he said. Gentiloni said that "now is the time for the USA and Italy to work together to stabilise the situation in Libya". Gentiloni said that splitting up Libya is not a good idea. "What is needed in Libya", he said, is "talks between global actors and then between the Sunnis, but I don't think that the division of Libya into two parts, one closer to Egypt and the other more Islamic, is a good idea because it could lead to destabilisation and external intervention. "We must involve all the external actors, also those who do not support the government, but we must not let the idea that division is a good idea go ahead". Gentiloni said that we need to "mitigate the storm" of the Mediterranean migrant emergency, a "sea that has played a crucial role in human history and which continues to have an important influence on humanity, but which has been associated with chaos and fragmentation in the last few years". We must tackle the causes of the problem "at the root", he said, because the situation is "dramatic with 500,000 migrants rescued over the last three years". Gentiloni said that the G7 format is "crucial at this time". He said the members should seize the "opportunity" to reach agreement on a string of issues. "It is fundamental to reach a sense of unity between these such significant countries. It is always important but it is particularly so at this time". Gentiloni said that it was "unrealistic" to imagine a solution to the Syria crisis without Russia. He said renewing the EU's commitment to a solution was an "opportunity" that should be seized. Gentiloni said that "Italy's contribution in fighting terrorism is significant: we are present in seven countries, we are the second contributors in Iraq and Afghanistan after the United States". Gentiloni said that Italy's alliance with the US was "in our interests". He said Italy's values were "firm" and the alliance was a "historical pillar and anchor". Finally, Gentiloni said he hoped that the "problem" of Gabriele Del Grande, an Italian reporter held in Turkey, "is swiftly resolved". He said "it is only one example of the fact that we need a commitment to an inclusive process" of the whole Turkish population, "with respect for fundamental rights" after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's narrow victory in a referendum giving him sweeping new powers.
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