Italy will step up its security and economic relations with Mali, deputy foreign minister Emanuela Del Re said on Friday after meeting the country's incoming premier Boubou Cisse at the end of a two-day visit.
"My presence here in Bamako has great significance", Del Re said after talks with Cisse, who is poised to form a government.
"We had a fruitful exchange on various issues with the Prime Minister: migration, the security-development nexus, economic cooperation, agreeing on mutual interest in developing collaboration to strengthen the partnership," Del Re said.
During her visit, Del Re also visited the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, and the European missions EUCAP Mali and EUTM Mali.
Del Re also toured the United Nations Population Fund's assistance centre for gender violence, the United Nations Children's Fund's centre for child malnutrition and the UN World Food Programme in Bamako.
Del Re's final appointment was with Italian officials and experts working for international organizations in the country.
"Italy has been present in Mali for many years in various sectors, today a new chapter opens up," Del Re said after her talks with the officials.
Italy has almost 1,000 troops stationed in the Sahel including up to 470 in Niger as part G5 counterterrorism Sahel force, which includes the armies of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.
The Italian parliament in January 2018 backed the deployment of a total 470 soldiers, 130 vehicles and two aircraft to Niger by the end of that year at a reported cost of 40.482 million euros.