The Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Gianni Vernetti, held bilateral meetings in the margins of the International Conference on Central Asia with the Deputy Foreign Ministers of Turkmenistan, Vepa Khagiev, Tajikistan, Erkin Sadriddinovich Kasymov, and Kyrgyzstan, Ermek Sultanoivich Ibraimov.
Undersecretary Vernetti reminded his three foreign guests, whom he had already met during his mission to Central Asia last May, of Italy’s intention to strengthen its relations with each of the countries in the area as part of its global strategy. The Conference on Central Asia held today at the foreign ministry in Rome was intended to establish a framework of reference for, and reinvigorate, bilateral relations. One way of doing this would be to ensure an on-going dialogue.
Undersecretary Vernetti reminded his guests that economic-trade relations are still not meeting their full potential. Some Italian companies in the energy, construction and textile sectors are already operating in the markets of Central Asia. However, further promising prospects for development also exist, opportunities which Italy intends to grasp. Agreements on the protection and promotion of investment have been or are being signed with all the countries concerned. This will provide the necessary legal framework for the companies and their operations. Undersecretary Vernetti also urged the Deputy Ministers of the three countries in question to continue along the road of domestic reforms. This would help achieve greater certainty in terms of the rule of law and better protection for business activities.
At the political level, Italy recognised the key role played by all the countries of Central Asia in the stabilisation process in the area. During his meetings with his guests, Undersecretary Vernetti laid particular emphasis on Italy’s commitment in Afghanistan and its interest in strengthening cooperation with neighbouring countries.
Finally, Undersecretary Vernetti met the Secretary General of the OECD, Ambassador Perrin de Brichambaut. With the Secretary General, he examined the Vienna-based organisation’s role in Central Asia and the prospects for further, more intensive collaboration with Italy.