Italy is also in the Middle East today in talks with the Syrian government. The Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema and Syria's President Asad and others discussed the formation of a UN tribunal to prosecute Syrian officials charged in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri. They also discussed Palestinian developments.
Both sides seem to have found the talks successful and useful. If only the US could develop better foreign relation skills. Italy and Syria have had strong relations and perhaps Italy feels they "owe" Syria for thwarting an attack of the Italian Embassy in Beirut in 2004.
It will be interesting to see how this develops as the Syrians have repeatedly denied the accusations of assassinating Hariri and to see if these talks do infact develop the tribunal. This would be a large triumph in Italian foreign relations and may make Italy a middle man for EU/Middle East issues.