Middle East

Saudi minister: more effort needed to confront water challenge in Arab world


ROME: The state of bilateral relations between Italy and KSA is excellent, Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Manlio Di Stefano said after he met Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraji in Riyadh on Monday.

Di Stefano is in Saudi Arabia to participate in the summit of the Middle East Green Initiative, as part of Italy’s commitment to the action on climate change as President of the G20 and co-President of COP26.

“With the Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraji we verified the excellent state of bilateral relations and discussed regional scenarios. It was a valuable opportunity to understand Saudi Arabia’s current position on Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen, as well as on the state of its relations with Iran,” Di Stefano said.

He explained that from his meeting “emerged the increased need for mediation in the various theaters, so that these situations of instability can finally normalize to the benefit, first of all, of the most vulnerable parts of the population. The Italian government, also holding the lever of the G20 presidency, is making every possible effort in this direction.”

Di Stefano met also the Saudi Minister of Commerce, Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi. The representatives of the two governments, Di Stefano said, “examined the great business possibilities that are opening up for companies in this moment of post-pandemic economic revival.”

Italy is now the seventh largest commercial supplier to Saudi Arabia.

In the first half of 2021, trade between the two countries grew by more than 17 percent compared to the previous year. According to projections, it should exceed €7 billion ($8 billion) by the end of 2021.

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The activity of Italian companies working in KSA has been mainly concentrated in infrastructure and the petrochemical sector.

“But we can do more together since Saudi Arabia, as part of the Vision 2030 Strategy, has launched a program of ecological and digital transition that will radically change the face of this country within the next few years,” Di Stefano said.

He urged leading Italian companies in the fields of renewable energy and high technology “to seize fully all the opportunities which originate from this ambitious program that KSA will put in place.”



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