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Remarks of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, in honour of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Italian State on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic

The speech was retrieved at the following link: Remarks of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, in honour of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Italian State on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic (quirinale.it).

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On the occasion of this day of celebration for our Republic, together with the Presidents of Italy’s constitutional bodies, I would like to extend my greetings to the accredited Ambassadors in Rome.

Your countries’ friendship has accompanied us over these decades and your presence underscores the strength of the ties that unite us.

Let me thank the RAI orchestra, its conductor Michele Gamba and its cellist Ettore Pagano, with my congratulations for the brilliant start to his career. We are grateful for the interlude of art they are about to offer us and that we will enjoy together with all those watching on television and online, to whom I extend my warmest greetings.

On June 2, 1946, Italy chose the Republic.

That vote, just as the country was beginning its democratic life, represented a call to responsibility for the Italian people. In those times of widespread hope, aspirations to prosperity and improved personal standing went hand-in-hand with the conquest of social and democratic rights.

Today, once again, international circumstances place us in extraordinary times.

Just as we did then, we feel the need today – at a global level – to strive for peace, to pursue together and everywhere liberty and development, democracy and broader welfare, the unfolding of civic conscience, economic growth and human rights: this is the great challenge, this is the horizon facing the international community.

We unequivocally reject insidious trade-offs: security at the expense of rights, the absence of conflicts of aggression in exchange for submission, order through fear and repression, and economic prosperity in exchange for subservience.

We note with sadness and concern the heightening of conflicts and violence in our neighbourhood, from Ukraine to the Middle East and the Sahel.

In the Middle East, after the brutal and despicable terrorist attack by Hamas, with the murder of countless innocents, the ensuing spiral of appalling violence is taking an immense toll of suffering and casualties among the Palestinian civilian population, devastation in the territories affected, the dissemination of hatred for the foreseeable future, and insecurity for all in that fundamental region.

It is necessary to immediately launch a process that puts an end to the slaughter and finally leads to a stable peace, with the full and reciprocal recognition of the two States of Israel and Palestine, in a necessarily short timeframe for this outcome to be truly achievable.

At the present juncture, we reiterate that it is imperative to fully implement the U.N. Security Council Resolution demanding a ceasefire, unconditional access to humanitarian aid for Gaza’s population, and the liberation of the hostages taken during the heinous attack of 7 October.

With its invasion of Ukraine – an independent, sovereign nation – Russia has brought war back into the heart of Europe and re-opened a rift between the continent’s countries, which we liked to think of as being partners in peace, free and democratic from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

The Russian Federation has demolished the security architecture that has ensured peace and stability on the European continent for many decades, since the Helsinki Accords of the mid-1970s, and instead has triggered a new and deeply disquieting arms race.

Such actions are all the more grievous as they have been carried out by one of the countries bearing greater international responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council.

We are all keenly aware of the cries of sorrow and of the calls for progress, justice, peace and a life free from strife, coming from many parts of the world.

As a founding member of the European Union and a strong partner in the trans-Atlantic relationship, in the friendship and alliance that underpin it, Italy – in light also of its G7 Presidency in 2024 – will continue its endeavours – always, everywhere, and for everyone – on behalf of fundamental human rights, peace and dialogue between peoples and States, international solidarity and justice, the fight against hunger, disease, underdevelopment and the protection of the environment.

It is in full reliance on those core values guiding us that we celebrate June 2nd on the basis of the principles of our Constitution, looking to the future with confidence and hope.