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Minister Gentiloni in Islamabad

Minister Gentiloni’s visit to Pakistan, which follows his two-day visit to Afghanistan, confirms the great attention that Italy focuses on this region. Mr Gentiloni will meet with the President of the Republic, Mamnoon Hussain, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, with National Security and Foreign Adviser to the Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz and with the Chief of Defence Staff, Raheel Sharif.

Minister Gentiloni began his visit to the Asian Country by addressing the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad. In his speech, Mr Gentiloni recalled that Pakistan has paid an “intolerable” price to terror, in the Easter massacre in Lahore, which cost the lives of dozens of Christians, and underscored that “extremism can be defeated by investing in education and in human capital”. He added: “Pakistan is fighting a battle in favour of social and religious tolerance and Italy will support it in this struggle.” He went on to say that the two Countries play “the same bridging role between Europe and Africa and, in Central Asia, between Iran, China and Russia, promoting dialogue while respecting diversity”.

The two countries’ bilateral relations and relaunching their economic and commercial cooperation will be at the centre of the mission’s agenda, which also includes the participation of a large delegation of Italian businesses in meetings with the Pakistani ministers in charge of economic and industrial policies.

Italy is considered to be a privileged economic partner of Pakistan. Figures relative to 2014 reveal Italy to be Pakistan’s third-largest European supplier behind Germany and the United Kingdom and the fourth-largest European importer of Pakistani goods, behind the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain.

Lastly, Pakistan is among the priority Countries of Italian Development Cooperation, which finances numerous projects for a comprehensive value of 215 million euros, especially in the priority sector of rural development, principally in the Country’s north-western areas bordering with Afghanistan.

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