Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio held phone talks with his Somali counterpart Ahmed Isse Awad on Tuesday after the return to Italy of a freed aid worker held for 18 months in Somalia, allegedly by Islamist militants.
The foreign ministry statement gave no details of Di Maio and Awad's talks but Awad tweeted that they covered the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and Somalia's recent progress towards debt relief.
"I spoke on the phone with Italian Foreign Minister, H.E Luigi Di Maio. We discussed, Italy’s support, #COVID19 response-Italy has turned the corner through decisive actions. I thanked Italy for supporting our debt-relief agenda. I also invited him to Somalia, H.E Di Maio accepted," read Awad's tweet.
In an earlier tweet, Awad said he had spoken to Italy's ambassador to Somalia, Alberto Vecchi and voiced his "delight" at 25-year-old Italian aid worker Silvia Romano's release last week.
Romano was flown back to Italy on Sunday and was met at Ciampino airport by Di Maio and premier Giuseppe Conte after reportedly being held in Somalia by Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabab after being kidnapped in southeast Kenya. Romano said she was good physical and mental shape after her ordeal and thanked the Italian government for working for her release.
Romano is believed to have converted to Islam during her captivity and the Italian government allegedly paid a ransom of several million dollars to free her - claims it denies.