ROME: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio met on Sunday to discuss relations.
They also held talks about regional and international developments when they met in the historic city of AlUla.
Earlier, Di Maio and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a “strategic bilateral dialogue” between the two countries.
The Italian foreign minister repeated praise for the agreement signed in AlUla last week at the GCC Summit to resolve a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
“It is a fundamental premise for an increased stability and safety in the region,” Di Maio said. “We appreciate the constructive commitment of the parties to overcome the controversy, an objective that Italy has always supported with conviction.”
The foreign ministers also discussed the G20 Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia last year. The presidency was passed from the Kingdom to Italy, which will host the event in October.
They discussed coordination with member states to complete and strengthen the G20 during Italy’s presidency, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Di Maio arrived in Saudi Arabia after a two-day visit to Jordan.
He said that in recent years Italy and Saudi Arabia have “constantly strengthened their relations of friendship and cooperation.”
He added: “Bilateral cooperation has made positive progress in recent years in the commercial, political, cultural and security fields.”
For Italy, Saudi Arabia is its biggest trading partner in the Gulf and its second in the wider region. Di Maio said Italy wanted to strengthen the bilateral economic partnership and that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform program offered opportunities for Italian companies, especially in the infrastructure, energy, manufacturing and logistics sectors.
Italy is one of the top ten suppliers to Saudi Arabia with exports reaching 3.279 billion euros in 2019 - up 6 percent compared to 2018.
Imports to Italy from the Kingdom were at 3.795 billion euros in 2019.
More than 70 Italian companies operate in Saudi Arabia.