"Today we lay the foundations for a bright future of friendship and cooperation between Italy and ASEAN".
This morning Deputy Minister Manlio Di Stefano has opened the Italy-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Joint Committee. It is the first meeting since the launch of the Development Partnership between Italy and the regional organisation in September 2020.
In the presence of Deputy Secretary-General Singh and the 10 Permanent Representatives of the ASEAN Member Countries, Deputy Minister Di Stefano has outlined Italy's commitment to the Association to strengthen its central role and effectiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, which is "central to international trade and freedom of navigation", and to promote the protection of shared principles and values.
Italy will cooperate with ASEAN on six pillars: political and security issues; connectivity and economic relations; socio-cultural exchanges; agriculture and environment (because of Italy's co-chairmanship of COP26); health; humanitarian cooperation.
Addressing the crisis in Myanmar, the Deputy Minister has reiterated the firm condemnation of the coup of February 1, and the request for the release of political prisoners: "Italy supports ASEAN's mediation to restore the democratic transition in the interest of the Burmese people". Following the coup, all activities outside the scope of humanitarian cooperation were suspended.
"Thanks to increased economic interaction and connectivity initiatives between Europe and Asia with the resources of the Pact for Export and the Development Partnership, Italian companies will be able to have better access and visibility in South-East Asian markets. The economic recovery after the pandemic necessarily involves Asia, and Italy is there to support!"- Vice Minister Di Stefano concluded.