"The men of the Guardia di Finanza abroad, like diplomats, wear the uniform of Italy. And this is why they too are “Ambassadors” of our Country around the world. Today Italy is in the forefront in international actions to combat corruption and the Foreign Ministry, with the contribution of the network of Officers and Experts of the Guardia di Finanza, is developing an action that we have defined as ‘anti-corruption diplomacy’ through initiatives to support the legality and the protection of our Country,” affirmed Minister Alfano, recalling the many examples of cooperation. It ranges from fighting tax crime, organized crime, terrorist organizations and counterfeiting with a view to defending Made in Italy products, and including cooperating with Frontex in fighting human traffickers. The minister highlighted the “capacity to penetrate and follow criminal financial flows” of the Guardia di Finanza.
Precisely during his address at the Conference, the minister announced his departure for Kuwait City that same day to attend the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition against Daesh, which represented another opportunity to emphasise the importance of fighting all forms of financing of terrorist organizations. Before his departure, on Red Hand Day, or the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, the minister confirmed Italy’s commitment in favour of the rights of children by affirming that “the extremely large number of minors who are victims of traffickers, armed groups and terrorists must spur the international community to take immediate and cohesive action.” He added: “At the United Nations, we uphold the importance of a joint action by all the actors – Governments, international organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations – to eradicate the phenomenon, freeing the victims and reintegrating them into society and punishing the perpetrators.”
On that same day, in New York, Italy was elected by acclamation member of the Organizational Committee of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission. “Our commitment towards an effective and integrated United Nations action in theatres in which peace is more fragile, that we supported over the last year at the Security Council, now continues as members of the Commission,” said Minister Alfano. He added: “The Commission is a key body in the strategic coordination of UN interventions in the sectors of security, development and human rights.”
Addressing the meeting in Kuwait City on Tuesday, Alfano highlighted that after having defeated ISIS on the ground and liberated “at least 8 million people” now it is time for the “crucial phase of our mission” to kick off: prevent the risk of Daesh returning in every way possible. Minister Alfano said: “Our multifarious approach against all financing sources, the flows of foreign fighters and their propaganda, has contributed to reducing the seriousness of the threat.” In Kuwait, on the sidelines of the conference, he met with his colleagues from Australia Julie Bishop, Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani and from Saudi Arabia, Adel al Jubeir, in addition to top-ranking officials in Kuwait. To Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah, Minister Alfano highlighted “the fruitful business climate, intense bilateral trade and cooperation in the field of security against terrorism are all elements of our solid partnership and of a constructive approach towards an ever-closer bilateral relationship.”
The minister also focused on the situation in Syria “where we recently witnessed an escalation in violence and a deteriorated humanitarian crisis fuelled by the regime.” He went on: “Reiterated brutality, sieges, bombings of civilians and the new reports on the use of chemical weapons, create the conditions for terrorism to keep flourishing.” He also reiterated Italy’s support for “Staffan De Mistura to initiate a constitutional process and UN-supervised elections”. On the fringes of the Conference, Minister Alfano met with his Turkish colleague Mevlut Cavusoglu, whom he told that Italy expects “a shared solution in the respect of international law and in the interest of both Eni, of the Countries in the region, and of the two Cypriot communities” for the issue of the SAIPEM 12000 platform, a point that the minister had already raised during a telephone conversation a few hours earlier. The two ministers agreed on the need to take into consideration their respective national interests and the concerns of their respective governments.
After returning to Rome, on Wednesday he left for Ireland on a two-day trip as part of the delegation accompanying President Sergio Mattarella.
The minister welcomed the “In gara con Noi – Tender lab” project, the Foreign Ministry’s new economic diplomacy initiative to support the internationalisation of companies. He recalled: “Abroad, the Foreign Ministry’s support in this sector can really make a difference, as shown by the results of the Prometeia survey, according to which in 2016 the support action of the diplomatic and consular network in the adjudication of tenders and contracts to Italian companies abroad, generated in Italy 21.4 billion euros in value added, amounting to 1.4% of GDP and 307,000 jobs.”
Sticking to the theme, on Thursday Alfano commented the data issued by ISTAT on the rise in Italian exports, the steepest since 2011: “a very great satisfaction for our Country”. On the same day, the minister defined an important result “the OSCE’s approval of its unified budget for 2018 to assure the effectiveness of the Organization’s action.” In his capacity as the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, he said that Italy “has patiently galvanised consensus among participating States, drawing initial positions closer.” Lastly, on Friday, he scheduled another departure, for Munich this time, to attend the Security Conference which, this year, was particularly dedicated to the role of the European Union in its relationship with the United States and Russia.
He stated: “My participation offers the opportunity to confirm the centrality that Italy attributes to the issue of international security, as well as to our Country’s central role in a year in which we hold the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office.” On the first day of the conference, the minister engaged in a long series of bilateral meetings, including one with Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator of the European Commission’s Task Force for Brexit, to whom he reaffirmed his interest for “the protection of the rights of Italian and European citizens residing in the United Kingdom”. He then went on to meet with his colleague from Azerbaijan, Elmer Mammadyarov, and the Prime Minister of the Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nechirvan Berzani. Minister Alfano told the latter that Italy closely monitors the internal dynamics of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan within the framework of a unified, federal and democratic Iraq. On Saturday, he had several more meetings with his colleague from Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze, and from Oman, Bin Abdullah and, for the first time, Italy participated in the E4 Meeting on Iran: “An excellent step in the right direction,” commented Minister Alfano.