“Italy and Latin America: they are not separated by the sea but united by the sea of History, Culture and Traditions and shared human events: between us is this wonderful sea that unites us!,” wrote Angelino Alfano, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on the Book of Guests of Honour of the Italo-Latin American Institute (IILA), which he visited to attend the first meeting of the Council of Delegates chaired by the new Secretary General, Donato Di Santo.
“The IILA – said Mr Alfano – together with Spain’s Ibero-American Summit, is a uniquely valuable tool in the relations between European and Latin American Countries. This Institute stands to testify the far-sightedness with which Italy, fifty years ago, approached the specificity and the potential of its diplomatic relations with a part of the world that was geographically distant but very close in terms of shared cultural traditions and values.” He added: “I am firmly convinced that there is a Latin culture that joins us in a common vision of the world, keeps us close and helps us to tackle global challenges together.”
Mr Alfano went on: “On these common grounds of understanding, we count on the extraordinary partnership with Latin America to meet the big challenges in Europe, in the Mediterranean and in the world, and the important international COMMITMENTS, spanning from sitting on the UN Security Council to the chairmanship of the G7, which Italy has undertaken this year.”
Referring to the 8th Italy-Latin America and Caribbean Conference that will be held in Rome before the end of 2017, Minister Alfano underscored: “It will be an opportunity to give new momentum to Italian foreign policy’s three main lines of action vis-à-vis Latin America: strengthening the political partnership and the special ties with the region; economic and industrial cooperation; the role of Italian communities in every sector of activity.”
He concluded: “Right now our attention is especially focused on the community in Venezuela, where 150,000 Italians, together with the Country’s other citizens, are experiencing a very difficult moment. We, at the Foreign Ministry, are closely working with the diplomatic and consular network in the Country to contribute to alleviate the weight of their difficult situation.”