The Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Vincenzo Amendola, departed on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia today. In Riyadh this morning, the Italian Government official met with the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani. “The Gulf Countries can play a key role in designing the architecture of security in the Middle East, which is torn by ongoing conflicts,” said Mr Amendola. He continued: “In order to solve regional crises, it is necessary to have a common approach based on inclusion, political dialogue and the protection of minorities, with the full involvement of the major regional players.” A similar message was expressed by Foreign Minister Alfano today, who underscored the need to focus attention on the region’s reconstruction and reconciliation perspectives over the next few months.
Mr Amendola went on to meet with several representatives of the Saudi Government: the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Salem; the Minister of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs, Thamer Sabhan Al- Sabhan; the Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry for Political and Economic Affairs, Ambassador Adel Mirdad, and the Undersecretary for Foreign Trade, Mohammad Abduljabar.
The talks will focus on regional security and crises, spanning from Yemen to Syria and Libya.
The meetings with the Saudi Arabian high-ranking officials allowed to make an update on the organisation of the Italian-Saudi joint commission that is scheduled to meet in Rome before the summer. Today Saudi Arabia is Italy’s first trade partner in the MENA area with trade volumes of up to approximately 8 billion euros in 2015. Of relevance is also the commitment of Italian companies operating in the Country’s strategic sectors of energy, telecommunications and infrastructure.
In the afternoon, the Undersecretary met with the UN Secretary General Envoy for Yemen, Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Yemen, Awsan Al-Aud.
Mr Amendola reminded his interlocutors that Italy, together with its other partners, strongly supports the mediation of the United Nations and the negotiations for a cease-fire. He commented: “We hope that these negotiations might resume as soon as possible, also in view of the humanitarian situation which is now extremely critical.”
He added: “Italy, as a member of the Security Council, and in cooperation with its allies, is ready to discuss, within the United Nations, to single out measures and instruments capable of tackling the lack of trust between the parties and guarantee that the agreements they have reached might be fully implemented.”
At the close of the day, Undersecretary Amendola visited the construction site of Salini Impregilo, the Italian company that is building the third metro line in Riyadh.
Mr Amendola’s mission will continue tomorrow in Jeddah.