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Italy, Algeria look to strengthen ties

09 luglio 2020 | 21.20
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Rome, 9 July (AKI)

During talks in Rome on Thursday, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio and his Algerian counterpart Sabri Boukadoum underlined the "strong friendship" and "strategic partnership" between their countries.

"Strong friendship and strategic partnership between Italy and Algeria," the Italian foreign ministry tweeted.

"Next bilateral appointments: (Fourth) Intergovernmental Summit; Strategic Dialogue (on Political and Security Issues) and Business Forum."

Di Maio thanked Boukadoum for the"solidarity" Algeria showed to Italy at the start of its dramatic COVID-19 epidemic earlier this year when the Algerian Red Crescent donated supplies to the Italian Red Cross, according to a foreign ministry statement.

Di Maio also expressed thanks for Algeria's help with the repatriations of hundreds of Italian citizens from Algeria during the COVID-19 pandemic and said Italy wants to further strengthen cooperation with Algerian authorities in managing illegal immigration.

"The ministers also agreed to start negotiations for the delimitation of the respective maritime areas of interest as early as September," said the statement.

War-ravaged Libya was also a focus of the talks, and Di Maio reiterated the need to appoint a new United Nations envoy swiftly to replace Ghassan Salame, who stood down in March citing health problems.

Di Maio and Boukadoum "shared their concern about the situation on the ground in Libya, whose instability is reflected in the region, and about external interference in the country," the statement said.

Italy's view remains that Libya's civil war can only be ended by inclusive negotiations between Libya's factions, brokered by the United Nations and meanwhile by stopping arms entering the country and foreign meddling in the conflict (which has become a proxy war for regional powers), Di Maio told Boukadoum, according to the statement.

Recalling that the stability of Libya and the Sahel region is a strategic priority for Italy and Europe, Di Maio "expressed appreciation for the efforts made by Algeria in the fight against terrorism and for the strengthening of the institutions of the Sahel countries to combat the root causes of instability in the region," the statement concluded.

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