The UAE and the Republic of Italy yesterday held the second strategic dialogue between the two countries during an official visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The UAE side was headed by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, and the Italian delegation was led by Angelino Alfano, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in the presence of Saqr Nasser Al Raisi, UAE Ambassador to Italy, and a number of Italian business people.
The dialogue discussed cooperative relations between the two countries across consular, education, cultural, economic, aviation, and a number of other fields. It also touched on the developments in the region, notably Libya, Syria and Yemen, in addition to stressing the importance of combating terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestation.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah and Minister Alfano also signed a MoU to establish a consular committee between the two countries, followed by a press conference.
Sheikh Abdullah stressed the importance of this visit, which comes in the context of bilateral cooperation between the two countries and joint coordination on a number of issues and developments on the regional and international arenas.
"There have been constructive discussions involving the dimensions of the friendly relations between the two countries, as well as exchanging view points on a number of important issues in the Middle East, and our extensive bilateral relationship," Sheikh Abdullah said.
He also expressed his happiness at the opening of the new State Embassy headquarters in Rome, in the presence of the Italian Foreign Minister, in addition to the signing of the MoU, stressing that the UAE has a long-standing historical relationship with Italy based on the principle of mutual trust.
Sheikh Abdullah highlighted that the two countries exerted significant efforts to strengthen their economic and trade relations. The volume of non-oil trade between the two countries reached US$8.2 billion in 2016, making the UAE the most important market for Italian exports in the Gulf region.
He added that cooperation in the field of air transport between the two countries contributed to the support of trade relations, pointing out that UAE airlines provide ten daily flights for passengers between the two nations.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation praised Italy's continued role in strengthening relations between the two states, as the number of Italian visitors to the country rose in 2016 to more than 230,000, while more than 12,000 Italians reside in the UAE.
Alfano confirmed the depth of their mutual relations, which exceeded the stage of political ties to enter in other areas such as culture. He also expressed his happiness with the opening of the Italian school in the UAE.
The Italian Minister affirmed his country's support for the Expo 2020 Dubai and the continuous coordination between the two teams to benefit from the experience of Expo 2015 Milan.