Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning, Selamat Paghi
It is a great pleasure for me to inaugurate the First Bilateral Dialogue between Indonesia and Italy on the occasion of my visit to the Republic of Indonesia. It is an extremely important opportunity for dialogue and discussion that sees many authoritative components of our countries' civil society taking part.
In recent years the relations between Indonesia and Italy, always founded on collaboration and friendship, have entered a phase of positive, increased strengthening.
However, our bilateral relations, which celebrated their 65th anniversary last year, still offer very ample room for growth, which I hope will be achieved over the next few years so as to bring our peoples and our countries even closer.
2015 represented a very important step in this journey, with an increase in meetings at political level and many Indonesian Ministers visiting Italy.
I believe that the Milan Universal Exhibition had a positive influence in this context. Over 21 million visitors, incuding many Indonesian friends, came to "visit" the over 130 participating countries. Indonesia, with its pavillion and many excellent initiatives - which welcomed over 4 million visitors - did a lot to help people discover this country, its culture and traditions in greater depth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A strengthening of our bilateral relations, as meetings such as today's show, offers extraordinary opportunities for our countries, in all sectors.
The dialogue between cultures, the respect for religious faiths that our countries encourage, allow for our societies to move even closer and promote mutual understanding at a time in history in which reaffirming principles of religious freedom and practising tolerance must continue to represent a fundamental part of our civil coexistence.
In this respect, Indonesia and Italy can share a deep-rooted, well-established experience.
Indonesia is home to the largest Muslim community in the world, and has developed a model of coexistence and democratic pluralism that is worthy of being better known and appreciated. Italy too has a long tradition of opening out to other cultures and respecting faiths.
Today, the development of the regional context, particularly in the Mediterranean area, reverberates on Italian society, making a careful, in-depth reflection on the relationship between national identity and models of coexistence essential. Large waves of refugees and migrants involve Italy and the European Union from up close.
It is therefore necessary to calmly explore the situation in greater depth, bearing in mind issues of dialogue between different faiths and cultures.
Bilaterally, the economic relations between Indonesia and Italy, which are already strong, still have untapped potential that both countries could substantially benefit from. I am happy to observe how, day after day, there is a progressive increase in trade and investment, as shown so very positively by the agreements just signed between companies from the two countries. We must continue along the path of cooperation among areas of regional integration. A shared regulatory framework is the tool for strengthening relations, which is what we all hope to do, with the European Union and ASEAN as key players.
In the meantime, we are pleased to support a prompt conclusion of the comprehensive economic partnership agreement between Indonesia and the EU: procedures are needed to simplify market access and progressively open up sectors in which there are currently restrictions to trade and investment.
Italy's economic presence in Indonesia can be traced back many decades.
The heightened growth the country has experienced has brought new businesses here, while others are keeping a close eye on this market. I believe that Italy can contribute to the maritime growth of Indonesia - the largest archipelago in the world - thanks to a centuries-old tradition in this sector and cutting-edge technologies.
Cooperation in the cultural sector is another, exceptionally important, element through which to build lasting ties. The increase in student exchanges between the two countries is positive, but there is still much to be done. I hope that there will be increasing commitment to further enhancing both the number of Indonesian young people who choose Italy as a destination to complete their training, and the number of Italian young people who look to Indonesia as a country - or rather as a world - that they can discover and get to know better.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I firmly believe that, here and now, it is possible to lay the foundations to continue strengthening dialogue between the two nations and develop all its dimensions.
I therefore extend all my best wishes for your fruitful endeavours, and I take the opportunity to extend my greetings to the Italian nationals that contribute through their hard work to nurturing the relationship between Indonesia and Italy day by day.