By Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Italy),
“It ‘s time to start over” is what deputy Minister Lapo Pistelli said during his visit to Asmara, the first travel by a politician from the government of President of the Republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro to Eritrea since 1997.
“I have come here to witness the desire to boost bilateral relations and try to facilitate a successful reintegration of Eritrea as a responsible actor in the international community and the fundamental dynamics of regional stabilization. ”
The Deputy Minister Pistelli had long work sessions with the Eritrean Minister of Foreign Affairs Osman Saleh and Advisor to the President, Yemane Ghebreab, before gathering in a long and in-depth discussion with President Isaias for the analysis of various relevant bilateral and international issues of common interest to the two countries.
“I found at my interlocutors great availability and awareness,” said Pistelli at the conclusion of the meetings. “If we can share in the partnership, forgetting their respective recriminations that now adhere to the historical dimension of our relationship and have to stop the current condition, the potential for Italy and Eritrea are huge and all mutual benefit.”
Italy is the second largest trading partner of Eritrea, but the exchange still hovers negligible levels because of the substantial isolation of Asmara.
The aim of the visit is precisely to stimulate the availability of Eritrea to the constructive dialogue with the countries of the region on the basis of a participation in the stabilization of the Horn of Africa, the activation of the development policies of the country, with a shared commitment to the protection of human rights, the fight against terrorism and transnational crime.
“I have come to turn a path of cooperation on all areas of mutual interest, in the knowledge that many of the problems of security and migration that occur to us originate in this part of the region. And to do that I wanted to clarify personally to President Isaias in Asmara here that Italy is ready to show a new will, which will certainly enable the mutual confidence that has been lacking between us for too many decades now. ” (Software Translation from Italy)
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President Holds Talks With Italian Delegation
(Asmara, 02 July 2014) – President Isaias Afwerki today received and held talks at Denden Hall with an Italian delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli.
In the course of the meeting, both sides exchanged views as regards ways and means the Eritrean-Italian relations which is anchored on historical ties and mutual benefits can enter a new phase of development.
They also asserted the readiness of both countries to this end, and agreed to chart mutual programs of partnership on the basis of the discussion conducted at the meeting.
Moreover, an agreement was reached between the two countries for both to collaborate and work in unison as regards promoting peace and stability in the Horn region.
In the meeting, President Isaias explained to the Italian official Eritrea’s suggestions regarding developments in the region and the means of resolving the problems thereof.
Mr. Lapo Pistelli’s visit to Eritrea is taking place at a time when Italy is chairing the European Union for 6 months.
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Italy Hopes to ‘Rekindle Trust’ With Eritrea
Italy’s deputy foreign minister has visited Eritrea to discuss greater cooperation on areas such as migration in what was the first government visit to the country since 1997.
By The Local,
Lapo Pistelli held talks with Osman Saleh, Eritrea’s foreign minister, before meeting with President Isaias Afewerki and his advisor, the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Pistelli said the visit aimed at fostering greater cooperation between the two countries, “given that many of the security and migration problems that affect Italy actually originate in this part of the region.”
While Eritreans do not make up the largest group of immigrants to Italy, greater attention has been placed on the country in recent months due to a sharp uptick in the number of boat migrants to Italy from the Horn of Africa.
The majority of the 366 people who died in a shipwreck in October off the Italian coast were fleeing Eritrea, a country where “human rights conditions remain dismal” according to Human Rights Watch.
Many more Eritreans continue to cross the Mediterranean by boat, along with others from Syria, Somalia and elsewhere. At least 40 people have died attempting the dangerous sea journey to Italy over the past week, with 75 more reported missing yesterday.
Speaking about his visit to the Eritrean capital, Asmara, Pistelli said he wanted to “try to foster Eritrea’s full reinstatement as a responsible actor and key member of the international community in the stabilization of this region”.
The deputy minister’s visit showed a “new willingness to engage”, he said, which had the potential to “rekindle the mutual trust” between Eritrea and Italy that has been absent for “too many decades”.
The last visit to Eritrea by a member of the Italian government was in 1997, when the then president Oscar Luigi Scalfaro travelled to the country.