On the sidelines of the Conference of Ashgabad (Turkmenistan) on Pre-Emptive Diplomacy and International Cooperation, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Gianni Vernetti had a series of bilateral meetings today with representatives of the region’s principal countries.
The situation in Afghanistan was the central focus of the meeting with Afghani Minister for Foreign Affairs Spanta, who thanked Secretary Vernetti for Italy’s contributions in the sector of justice and rule of law, which, following the July conference in Rome, are beginning to bear fruit. Minister Spanta also stressed the importance, within the framework of the growing involvement of the countries of the region, of the Regional Economic Conference on Afghanistan to be held in Islamabad in March.
Convinced support for the stabilisation of Afghanistan was expressed by the five Central Asian countries of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakistan, Uzbekistan e Kyrgyzstan, which also confirmed a shared interest in combating drug traffic. Secretary Vernetti took the opportunity to thank those five countries for the support confirmed in the Ashgabad meetings for Italy’s proposal of a UN death penalty moratorium resolution ahead of the 18 December General Assembly vote.
In all his meetings Secretary Vernetti underlined Italy’s efforts to strengthen relations with each of the region’s nations within the context of a global strategy. He examined economic collaboration development, particularly in the field of energy, with the Republic of Turkmenistan’s President Berdimukhammedov and Foreign Minister Meredov. The understanding reached in the course of this meeting on the signing of a future investment protection and promotion agreement will provide the necessary legal framework for Italian business activities there.
In his meeting with Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Norov Secretary Vernetti received that country’s support for Milan’s candidacy to host the 2015 Universal EXPO.
Finally, Secretary Vernetti met with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, with whom he exchanged views on developments in the region of Central Asia.