Rome - Information Office - February 14
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the convening of the first strategic dialogue between the State of Qatar and the Italian Republic represents a milestone in the bilateral relations, especially as the two friendly countries will soon celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Speaking at a joint press conference with HE Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio in Rome Monday, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that the progress of the relations between the two countries reflects the political will to enhance the cooperation in various fields.
His Excellency considered the strategic dialogue an opportunity to discuss the bilateral relations, mainly in topics related to defense, security and economy, noting that inter-trade has increased more than three times over the last ten years, and there are many investment opportunities in Italy and Qatar.
His Excellency expressed Qatar's interest in investing and contributing to the development infrastructure of the Italian Republic, indicating that he was briefed about the plan Italy is working on to develop and support its infrastructure and development.
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that the strategic dialogue tackled the relations in the field of defense and the strategies between the armed forces. He noted that there is a defense cooperation between the two countries, and looked forward to expanding this cooperation further.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani added that the dialogue also touched on the development of cultural relations and the designation of an Italian cultural attache in the State of Qatar in order to strengthen the cultural relations and build bridges between the two friendly peoples.
He explained that he discussed with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation a number of important issues related to bilateral relations as well as the latest international developments. He noted that the strategic dialogue constituted an opportunity to develop strategic visions about these issues, pointing to the convergence of the two countries' positions on issues that contribute to achieving international peace and security.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs added that the two sides discussed the latest developments in the Libyan crisis, and expressed support for the work of the United Nations mission and the hope to end the division and reach political solutions so that Libya overcomes this difficult stage and achieve stability for the brotherly Libyan people.
On the Afghan issue, His Excellency stressed the importance of the Taliban fulfilling their obligations to the international community, and that there would be no retreat in any achievement made so far, explaining that he briefed the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on the latest developments regarding the departure of foreign citizens, the evacuation process and the issue of Kabul Airport.
His Excellency noted that there was also a chance to talk about the Iranian nuclear negotiations, adding that Qatar and Italy share the view and concern, and see that negotiations are the only way to put an end to this crisis.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed the need for the Middle East to be free of nuclear weapons and for countries to comply with all agreements, adding: "We seek to work together to reach an agreement to put an end to the escalation and achieve stability in the Gulf."
He noted that the dialogue also discussed the Palestinian issue, stressing that the State of Qatar believes that the only way to peace is the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, and there must be a firm action towards any escalation or infringement on the rights of the Palestinian people.
On the escalation between Ukraine and Russia, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani reiterated Qatar's firm position in support of resolving crises through diplomatic means and dialogue.
For his part, HE Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio underlined that the State of Qatar is a credible strategic partner for Italians and Europe.
He explained that such bilateral meetings testify to the strong and long-standing friendship between the two countries and the bonds of the close cooperation, adding: "I would like to express my happiness with the dialogue session and its outcomes, as it represents an effective system for enhanced dialogue that covers important issues at the bilateral and regional levels."
On the economic cooperation between the two countries, HE the Italian Minister indicated that the trade exchange grew by 56% during the first ten months of last year before the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the State of Qatar is an important market for Italy, and there is an increasing interest from Italian companies in the Qatari market. He looked forward to increasing partnerships in light of the mutual interest.
HE the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced the appointment of an Italian cultural attache in Doha, stressing the need to increase and strengthen the cultural and scientific cooperation between the two countries.
His Excellency renewed his gratitude to the State of Qatar for evacuating more than 1000 Italian citizens and Afghan nationals, and expressed his thanks to Qatar for agreeing to transfer the Italian Embassy in Afghanistan to Doha.
On the Libyan issue, HE the Minister underlined that Italy respects the democratic aspirations of the Libyan people, and stressed the need for transparency towards the current situation in Libya in order to preserve its stability and unity.
On the Iranian nuclear file, His Excellency stressed the need to recognize the importance of negotiations on the file, adding that isolating Iran is not an option.
His Excellency stressed the need to re-launch the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, expressing his thanks to the State of Qatar for its support for Gaza.
With regard to Ukraine, HE Minister Luigi Di Maio referred to his discussions with HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs about the departure of Italian citizens from Ukraine, and explained that he is working to discourage any military conflict.