Foreign Affairs

G7 Foreign Ministers in Capri: Italy, the rotating president, promotes peace

April 2024
By Paul Shearer

The message is in the name. Hopefully. The delicate G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Capri is taking place from today until Friday at the historic “Quisisana” Hotel. And “Here one heals” could be the perfect slogan for the goal of the meetings of the G7 Foreign Ministers under the Italian Presidency in 2024. Given the exceedingly complicated international situation, with conflicts in Ukraine (stalled), in the Middle East (expanding), and rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific area.

The goal of the first G7 foreign ministers meeting in Capri is already ambitious: “In an international scenario characterized by very high tensions, the Italian-led G7 has the task of working for peace. The government is committed to an all-out effort to achieve this goal, and we are confident that the Capri meeting will make a significant contribution.” This was emphasized by the G7 ministerial president, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani.

Firstly, the Middle East, with particular attention to the latest developments following Iran’s unprecedented direct attack on Israel, but also on Gaza and the Red Sea. Then, the stalemate in the conflict in Ukraine, with the presence in Capri of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. The discussions will also focus on Africa, with which the G7 is discussing the strengthening of the existing partnership, with the presence at Quisisana of the Foreign Minister of Mauritania, Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug, current President of the African Union. Also on the agenda is the stability of the Indo-Pacific, a region “prioritized for political balance and global trade.” Finally, cross-cutting themes such as infrastructure connectivity, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and the fight against disinformation.

The Italian path to extinguishing the flames in the Middle East:
The note from the Farnese Palace is clear. Urgent solutions are needed for the Middle East on the “severe humanitarian crisis and the resumption of a significant and incisive political process for a two-state solution.” Currently very distant. A credible political horizon for the region that ensures peace and security necessarily passes through the international community’s ability to listen to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. This is why, after the conversation with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani revealed to La Stampa: “I conveyed our viewpoint: Israel has achieved a clear success, neutralizing almost entirely the effects of the unacceptable Iranian attack. They should stop here, consolidating this political and military success.” He added, “There is a risk of triggering a regional conflict that could become global in a few weeks. And like with Ukraine, we do not want to walk, unaware, as sleepwalkers towards World War III. If each side believes that the only way to assert their reasons is through military force, we must speak with them. Iran has significant capabilities, but it will not prevail over Israel and risks devastating the areas where its allies operate, like Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Houthis in Yemen. On the other hand, Israel must be careful not to wear down its relationship with the United States, which, together with Europe, do not want an expansion of this conflict.”

With the hope that the Quisisana for the G7 proves to be a prophetic name.