During his visit to Tunis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, was welcomed by the President of the Republic Beji Caid Essebsi. Subsequently, Minister Alfano had a cordial meeting with his colleague, Khemaies Jhinaoui, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, followed by talks with Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.
During his meeting with Minister Jhinaoui, Minister Alfano recalled “the historic continuity and the commonalities of bilateral relations between the two countries.” He asked his colleague to express their cooperation priorities, which are: youth training opportunities; economic development of the hinterland; the fight against terrorism; the invitation to President Essebsi to participate in the G7 Summit in Taormina; the energy interconnectivity (ELMED project involving the Italian firm TERNA and the Tunisian STEG); and further development of the new settlements (especially palm plantations) in the Southern desert area of the country.
“Our objective is to make a quantum leap forward in the relations between the two countries and conclude with an agreement during the State Visit of President Essebsi to Italy on 8 February, ” said Minister Alfano.
The Minister ensured “Italy’s utmost support to young Tunisians by proposing a programme, the “Erasmus of the Mediterranean”, which seeks to unite the young generations through a new version of the consolidated and successful EU member states Socrates/Erasmus programme”.
In addition, the talks with the Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, were very cordial and focused on shared views. These talks took place before Minister Alfano’s visit to the Bard Museum, where the Italian dignitary stopped to pay homage to the victims of the March 2015 attack. “I wish to confirm the Italian government’s determination in enhancing cooperation in the strategic areas of bilateral cooperation. Namely, the development of economic relations, fulfilling the country’s potential, the fight against terrorism and cooperation on migration issues,” said Minister Alfano. (AGI)