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Strengthen diplomacy for growth, says Bonino – In Kuwait and Oman, building trade relations and partnerships

This was the purpose behind Minister Emma Bonino’s mission to Kuwait and Oman, two strategic Gulf countries. Good news for Italy, after the minister’s meetings with the executives of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and its president Nizar Mohammad al-Asani, regarding the strong and “excellent” bilateral relations that everyone – politicians, oil men and managers – were pleased to underscore.

Willingness to increase investments

The KCP, with 4.4 million barrels of crude a day foreseen for 2020, is willing to increase investments in Italy, in addition to partnerships with Italian firms, even in terms of technology and professional training exchanges, and to open up to gas. This according to Nizar Mohammad al-Asani, President of the KPC holding company, whose total assets are valued at 86 billion USD and that estimates future annual revenues at 104 billion USD. This was positive news to the large delegation of business persons travelling in the company of the Italian foreign minister. KPC already has a conspicuous presence in Italy: with 2,838 service stations, it is our country’s third largest operator with an 11% market share.

Trade a bridge for peace

Minister Bonino went on to the capital of Oman, Muscat, to open the 4th joint Italy-Oman Commission, where she asserted that “trade is a bridge for peace, a natural ally of diplomacy, and an investment that every government should make”. Bonino underscored that trade with Oman had increased over the past year by more than 20%, to peak at €330 million but, that “our economic partnership is still not fulfilling its potential. There is room for improvement in many sectors”, citing infrastructure, training, cultural cooperation, tourism and environment”

.Model for the entire region

Speaking with Secretary General of the Omani Foreign Ministry Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Al Busaidi, the chief of Italian diplomacy added that “Oman and Italy can work together on the redefinition of an ambitious strategy that could become a model for the entire region. This model could consist of broader-based trade, increased investments, more concrete projects and increased cultural exchanges. And should be the basis for fostering dialogue and the shared values of pluralism and respect for diversity”.

he situation in Egypt

The minister also discussed the main international dossiers in her meetings with the political and institutional leaders of Kuwait and Oman.

The only way out for Egypt now “is an inclusive political process open to the concrete participation of all the political forces”, was Minister Emma Bonino’s statement as she met with Kuwaiti leaders on the first leg of her trip to the Gulf. On the eve of the European meeting in Vilnius where the Egyptian situation will be discussed, the minister reiterated that “it is never a good day when the military take power”, and that the country “needs a return to normality, avoiding arbitrary arrests and ensuring due process to all those who have been arrested”. In Oman the minister pointed out that Italy appreciates the “position of the Omani leadership, which encourages pluralism and respect for diversity, promotes dialogue with neighbours and contributes to stability in one of the world’s most complex scenarios”.

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