“You can count on a strong support from our government, that is determined to enhance our cooperation activities in that region of the world, and believes that Europe can and should do more.” With these words Angelino Alfano, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation addressed, during a video conference, the Italian Ambassadors in Southeast Asia, on the occasion of their first meeting in the ASEAN area.
“This is a region which is becoming increasingly important for Italy, from a geopolitical and economic standpoint, with its 630 million inhabitants and some of the most dynamic economies in the world, recording an average growth rate of 5 percent. A strong European stance vis-a vis these countries,”said Minister Alfano. He then invited our diplomats to “work to achieve a quantum leap the region. Your meeting should start a reflection on strategy in order to boost ‘Brand Italy’ entirely, with a view to securing the success of our enterprises.”
Minister Alfano encouraged the Ambassadors to promote the strengthening of cooperation activities also as regards the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, an area in which the ASEAN countries “represent an important actor being, as they are, committed to develop moderate models of Muslim societies often targeted by terrorist networks.”
The head of the Farnesina added that “the cooperation with ASEAN countries is a clear political policy of our government, which is truly important, not a matter of theory.” This policy should be pursued also at a European level to enhance regional dialogue and cooperation, in the light of partnership and free trade agreements, for example” said the Minister.
As proof of the Italian commitment with the countries in the area, this afternoon Minister Alfano will meet the Foreign Minister of the Philippines, Perfecto Yasay Jr. The two top diplomats will sign a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the guidelines for a pattern of enhanced bilateral consultations between Ministries of Foreign Affairs.