(AGI) Baghdad, Jan 21 - A copy of the memorial to the 19Italian soldiers who died in the 2003 attack in Nassiriya wasofficially handed over at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry onWednesday. The Italian Ambassador in Baghdad, Massimo Marotti,said the monument epitomised the nations' grief over the deathsof those who would not return, but would never be forgotten.The monument, by Zainab Sami, is composed of a column on whichthe names of the fallen Italian soldiers are carved,symbolically represented by 19 stars, the Sumerian symbols ofthe planets uniting humanity as a whole. In his speech, MrMarotti noted that Iraq had produced the civilisations who hadinvented writing, enabling man to express feelings andthoughts, and asked the Iraqi Foreign Ministry officials toaccept the gift of the memorial as a symbol of the greatfriendship and respect of the Italian people for the Iraqipeople. Deputy Foreign Minister Nizar Alkarallah thanked MrMarotti for the "highly symbolic gift", saying that the Italianpresence in Nassiriya had been crucial in helping localgovernments and for regional development. The donation from theItalian Embassy was extremely meaningful because it was asymbol of Sumerian civilisation and commemorated the Italianmilitary martyrs in Nassiriya. He expressed his great empathywith the families of the fallen men, and said the soldiers'presence in Iraq had been a great support to the Iraqigovernment. Italy was one of the few countries that understoodthe real meaning of Iraqi civilisation, and had engaged withthe study and preservation of its cultural heritage. On thesidelines of the ceremony, Mr Marotti said the idea had beensparked by Iraq's importance to the Italians. There were goodrelations with the country in all sectors, from culture toagriculture to education, and he hoped relations would becomeeven stronger. Italy had sent aid to Iraqi refugees and wouldsend further consignments at the end of January and at thebeginning of March. The Iraqi Ambassador Safiya al Suhail saidthe memorial would be exhibited at the embassy in Rome. Theattack against the Italian Multinational SpecialisedCarabinieri Unit on Nov. 12, 2003 left 28 people dead, 19Italians and nine Iraqis, and 58 people injured. The victims ofthe attack were posthumously awarded the Cross of Honour byItalian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at a ceremony on Nov.12, 2005. (AGI).