Quirinale Palace, 08/02/2017
It is for me a great pleasure and honour to repeat our most cordial welcome to President Essebsi and to the delegation accompanying him.
I can still recall my visit to Tunis in May 2015, shortly after a serious terrorist attack in Tunisia, and the friendship with President Essebsi that I discerned at the time is now renewed and is the expression of the great and full cooperation that exists between Tunisia and Italy.
For Italy, besides being a friend, Tunisia is a privileged partner Country. The centrality of Tunisia and Italy in the Mediterranean Region strengthens the ties between our two Countries and will certainly constitute one of the salient points on the agenda of the G7 meeting next May.
Between Tunisia and Italy there is great cooperation in every sector and in every form and we intend to reinforce it to the extent possible.
Tomorrow, Tunisia and Italy will sign six agreements at the presence of President Essebsi. In addition to the joint declaration by the Foreign Ministers there will be agreements on tourism, health care, the environment and energy, cultural relations and cooperation. These agreements mark a further step forward in the cooperation between our two Countries.
We intend to proceed with great determination in bolstering our development cooperation for the future of our youths, against terrorism and against human traffickers.
Tunisia is also a key trade partner for Italy. The Business Forum held in May with the participation of Italian and Tunisian entrepreneurs was a big success and a great number of Italian business leaders attended the 'Tunisia 2020' conference last November. We share many common prospects, one of which is the electrical interconnection project between Tunisia and Italy: a project that Italy considers to be strategic and that is important to implement not only for our two Countries but also for the whole Mediterranean Region.
With President Essebsi we also talked about the migration phenomenon and the need to regulate it by going straight to the causes. We confide that negotiations between Tunisia and Italy will proceed speedily to achieve a new framework agreement on migration.
We also talked about cultural cooperation: our two Countries are bound by a millennia-old history, a host of relations, and a very high level of cultural interconnection. In this context, the cooperation that exists, for example, in the archaeological sector, is very intense and we intend to enhance it because it is a strong sign of the friendship between our Countries.
We also addressed the international scenario, the situation in Libya, with the shared intent to help that Country to finally find a common form of government that might pacify and thus govern it, reacquiring full control over its territory.
In essence, we found that we had common views on all the issues discussed and I thank President Essebsi for his visit, and for the friendship that characterises the relationship between us and also between Tunisia and Italy.