Rome, January 27 - "We call on the Italian government, member states and EU institutions, as well as our European neighbors, to engage in an active neutrality initiative to reduce tension and promote a political agreement between all parties to tackle the crisis in Ukraine." Italian trade union confederations Cgil, Cisl, Uil say.

"We are witnessing a worrying escalation of tension between Russia and Ukraine, with the United States and NATO involved in the possible conflict. The silence of the United Nations and the inability today of the EU to play the role of reliable and authoritative mediator, dealing with a crisis on Europe's doorstep, are equally worrying and unacceptable signals". "At the current state of affairs none of the contenders excludes the possibility of resorting to arms and no observer excludes the possibility of an armed conflict, including a nuclear one, which could involve the entire European continent and extend globally."

"We are at the side of every country that asks for respect and inviolability of its borders, but we remind that recourse to violence has always generated suffering and made new conflicts arise. In this climate of exasperated rearmament, the protagonists seem to want to affirm their own supremacy rather than looking for a strategic agreement that guarantees future peace. To avoid this risk, every country has a duty to act."

"We call on all EU member states, European institutions, our neighbors in Europe and other interested parties to take urgent and significant initiatives from a position of active neutrality, to obtain - they stress - an immediate de-escalation of tension and begin the search for a political agreement negotiated with respect for the security and rights of all populations involved, clarifying their unwillingness to support military interventions."

"Cgil, Cisl, Uil ask in particular the United Nations to play their fundamental role as mediator and guarantor of international law, turning the confrontation into a political and diplomatic one, the only possible way for the affirmation of law and peace".