PM, Italian FM discuss country's help in stopping Gaza arms flow

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Tuesday and the two men discussed the Gaza cease-fire and Italy's ability to assist in preventing weapons smuggling into the Strip. Olmert reiterated his gratitude to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for his recent visit to Israel and for a letter in which he underscored Italy's commitment to joining the efforts to stop smuggling. Frattini clarified the measures Italy would be prepared to take to prevent smuggling, both by sea and by providing experts and equipment so as to make the anti-smuggling operations as effective as possible. The two men also discussed humanitarian aid to Gaza and Olmert emphasized that Hamas bears full responsibility for the devastation in the Strip and for civilian casualties. The prime minister added that Hamas cannot, therefore, be allowed to lead the reconstruction process in the Strip and thereby gain some measure of legitimacy.