The conditions to relaunch the peace process are there, but the way forward is ''still very difficult,'' Napolitano told Abu Mazen over lunch at the Quirinale Palace today, adding that he hopes Israel, ''a traditional friend of Italy,'' will give ''its maximum authoritative attention to Palestinian National Authority needs and proposals.'' Italy looks ''with the greatest interest and sympathy'' at Abu Mazen's efforts to bring about ''the unity of the Palestinian people and peace in the Middle East,'' Napolitano said.
Abu Mazen, who also met with Premier Mario Monti and Upper and Lower House leaders Gianfranco Fini and Renato Schifani today, expressed his gratitude for ''Italy's loyal support for the Middle East peace process'' and his willingness to ''return to the negotiating table, as long as Israel maintains the commitments it has made.'' Italy hopes direct peace process negotiations will resume, and that the Palestinian National Authority will reconcile with Hamas, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said in a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Riad Malki. ''We are working hard towards an internal reconciliation, but the internal Palestinian situation has nothing to do with Egypt or Syria,'' Malki said, adding that Hamas must allow administrative elections in Gaza in the fall and the formation of an interim government to oversee presidential and parliamentary elections. (ANSAMed).