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Mr. Chairman,

Italy fully aligns itself with the statement made earlier by the representative of the European Union.
I would like to add some remarks in my national capacity.

Italy’s geopolitical position is very close to the Mediterranean region and to the Middle East. Our history is intimately connected to the region, so we are very sensitive to developments in this context and we follow them very closely.
Italy strongly supports the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference on the Middle East and, as I underlined in the general debate of this session, it reaffirms its full support for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East. We regret that it has not been possible so far to convene a Conference on the establishment of such a zone to be attended by all States of the Region.

We acknowledge with gratitude the great efforts put into this work by the Facilitator, Mr. Laajava, who we recently received in Italy and would be delighted to have him once again as our guest. We will continue to support his action towards the ongoing preparation for a successful Conference.

All parties concerned should capitalize on the work carried out so far and demonstrate the political will that can ensure that all can walk the extra mile leading to the objective of convening the Conference. It is in their interest, and in the interest of global peace and security.

Therefore we call on all the States of the Region to practically engage with the Facilitator with the aim to enable the Conference to be convened as soon as possible, on the basis of freely-reached arrangements between the States of the Region.

With regards to Iran, we look forward to achieving a comprehensive, negotiated, long-term-settlement, which would restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.
In this prospect we welcome the positive recent developments, in particular the agreement on the Joint Plan of Action reached on 24 November 2013 in Geneva.

We also welcomed the discussions between Iran and the IAEA under the Framework for Cooperation and we consider the agreement reached at the talks in Teheran in February to be a further positive step in the right direction.

We look forward to the resolution of all other outstanding issues that will be essential to achieving a long-term settlement.

Lastly, we would also like to express our concern over the fact that Syria has not yet provided the requested cooperation with the IAEA and has not complied with its Safeguard Agreements.

The recent attacks with use of chemical agents in Syria reminded us, once again, of the catastrophic effects of any use of weapons of mass destruction. We consider the plan for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons as the most important multilateral disarmament operation of the recent decade, and we are actively contributing to the efforts of the UN-OPCW Joint Mission with logistic, financial and technical support.

Thank you for your attention.