Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni followed the UN Secretary General’s visit to EXPO for World Food Day by welcoming U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Food security and climate change at the heart of EXPO and Cooperation pledges
“Our presence here confirms the importance of food security and climate change, which are the central themes of EXPO”, Gentiloni said as he welcomed Kerry. The minister underscored the United States’ commitment and, in particular, that of President Obama, on climate change, pointing out how First Lady Michelle Obama had championed food security and the importance of a healthy diet and proper nutrition on a visit to EXPO a few months earlier.
A commitment fully shared by Italy, Minister Gentiloni confirmed, as demonstrated with the recent approval of a budget law that increases official development assistance for 2016 by approximately 40% as compared with current funding (from 297 to 418 million euro). On a global plane, the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the 2030 Agenda is a “highly important result”, Gentiloni added, “We are hoping”, he concluded, “that the UN agenda on this topic will be able to galvanise the international community in an effort to eradicate hunger within 2030”.
Transatlantic relations: a reigning priority
The meeting with Kerry was also an opportunity for an exchange of views on the principal international events, reconfirming the extraordinary intensity of bilateral relations based on common values and interests. “Transatlantic relations are an historic priority and are today even stronger”, said Minister Gentiloni, listing the commitments on which Italy and the United States are “together”. “Italy”, he pointed out, “is among the most active countries in the international coalition: we are supporting the training of the police forces in Iraq, have been working in Afghanistan for 14 years, are ready to take a leadership role in Libya and are convinced that diplomacy is the key to avoiding a political vacuum in Syria”. The minister also underscored that Italy is “ready” to collaborate with the United States in their “efforts” to halt any form of escalation in the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East.
An EXPO that makes the world closer
Finally, Gentiloni and Kerry made a joint visit to the Italian Pavilion and, at the end of his day at EXPO, the secretary of state congratulated the government and the organisers for having mounted a “stupendous EXPO in Milan”, an event that makes the world closer.