ROME: Italian politicians have welcomed the move by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to mend relations with Qatar.
They hailed the AlUla Agreement, which was signed by leaders of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states during the organization’s summit in the Kingdom on Tuesday, as a development that will help to ensure peace and ease regional tensions. Ministers in the Italian government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte cheered the announcement.
The Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described the agreement as “an accord for solidarity and stability” in the region. It ends a diplomatic crisis that began in 2017 when Egypt and GCC members Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain severed ties with Doha. Kuwait had announced on Monday that Saudi Arabia was reopening its airspace and borders to Qatar.
“Today we have really good news from the Gulf,” Vincenzo Amendola, Italy’s minister for EU affairs and an expert on Middle East politics and issues told Italian news agency ANSA. “It's now time to return to the table of dialogue and cooperation.
Ivan Scalfarotto, the undersecretary for foreign affairs, who represented Italy at the G20 Summit in Riyadh in November, told Arab News: “Every sign of detente and dialogue in a crucial area such as the Gulf is to be positively evaluated. This is good news, which Italy welcomes with satisfaction.”
MP Piero Fassino, chairman of the Foreign Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, said: “The agreement between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Gulf countries represents an act of detente in a region that has been hit by conflicts and tensions for too long. Now it is urgent to quickly reach a peace agreement in Yemen.”
Fassino also called for a “relaunch of the application of the JPCOA agreement on Iranian nuclear power, in order to prevent the authorities of Tehran adopting decisions that could be harbingers of new tensions in the area.” He was referring to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Also known as the Iran nuclear deal, it was signed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, the UK, China, France and Russia — along with Germany and the EU. President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in 2018.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of opposition party the Northern League also welcomed the AlUla agreement.
“The normalization of relations between Qatar and the Gulf countries after three years of blockade is great news,” he said. “Congratulations to all those who made this possible with their efforts. It’s always good when dialogue and diplomacy prevail.”
A source close to Prime Minister Conte said that Italy has always supported efforts to find an intra-Gulf solution to the crisis and had consistently called for dialogue.
“Therefore, we are delighted about this agreement that leads to a normalization of relations in the area,” the source added. “It is an important step that could strengthen the unity of the region.”