Today, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani, met with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen at the Farnesina.
The meeting – the second after the one held on the occasion of Deputy Prime Minister Tajani’s visit to Israel last March – offered an opportunity to discuss bilateral issues and the main regional challenges and underlined how Israel’s security is a priority for the Italian government.
“Italy and Israel have deep relations, founded on friendship, solidarity and understanding,” commented Minister Tajani, adding that “in addition to intense political relations, Italy and Israel benefit from a solid cooperation on the economic level”. Israel is indeed a strategic economic partner for Italy, particularly in sectors with a high rate of technological innovation, such as agribusiness, biotechnology, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, space and energy. Trade between the countries in 2022 was worth almost EUR 4.8 billion, up +19.7% compared to 2021. “We believe in the opportunities offered by the complementarity of our manufacturing ecosystems,” noted Deputy PM Tajani, “and in this regard, we encourage further Israeli investment in Italy, particularly in the high value-added sectors of the South. Italy is one of the three most advanced economies in the EU, so investing in Italy means investing in a country that serves as a strategic gateway for 500 million consumers in the European Union”.
With regard to the main regional issues, Minister Tajani wished to express – in the name of the special friendship that binds the two countries – the Italian government’s solidarity with the people of Israel in the face of the terrorist attacks of recent weeks. He also expressed his concern over the increasing number of victims of this year’s attacks, which have also affected civilians and children. “This new wave of violence is further proof that the status quo is unsustainable and that it is absolutely necessary to relaunch the peace process to avoid yet another destructive spiral,” Minister Tajani noted, adding that “we remain convinced that the two-state solution, based on UN resolutions, offers the best chance for Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security”. Lastly, on the regional context and relations with neighbouring states, Deputy PM Tajani reiterated Italy’s support for the normalisation agreements between Israel and a number of Arab countries, agreements that can contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East in the medium to long term. “We believe that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the normalisation process must proceed in parallel, capitalising on possible synergies. For this reason, we look forward to the Negev Forum as a platform to promote regional cooperation and integration”, Tajani concluded.