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Italy has “high expectations” for Saudi and Middle East green initiatives (Italian Deputy Foreign Minister)

ROME: Italy had “high expectations” regarding the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative events in Riyadh as well as the Kingdom’s commitment to green energy production, said a important Italian deputy.

Manlio Di Stefano will represent his government at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit in the Saudi capital, and he told Arab News that his country attaches “great importance to this event”.

The 40-year-old Italian Under-Secretary (Deputy Minister) for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is from the Five Star Movement, the populist party founded by comedian Beppe Grillo who has been at the center of the past three years of coalition government in Italy.

After graduating in Computer Engineering in Sicily, Di Stefano worked as an IT consultant for an American company and volunteered for an Italian NGO operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guatemala working on sustainable development projects.

He said: “We believe this is the moment when, globally, every country must make an effort to engage in the fight against climate change.”

The politician stressed that promoting green energy was “a way to create a market, to create infrastructure, to tell stories about climate change, where it is happening and the solutions to deal with it.”

“This event in Riyadh will be focused on how to resolve the situation with solutions and therefore we are ready to support it,” he added.

Di Stefano noted that Italy was one of the top European countries in terms of energy production links with the Middle East and North Africa region and said the EU should provide more funds to Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt, to help finance environmental protection programs. .

He added that Italy and Egypt had collaborated on a number of projects and that the strategic interconnection was important for his country.

“We need to work more with countries that can produce renewable energy in the future. We have a lot of projects going on in North Africa and Middle East countries for power generation.

“And we believe that Italy could play a strategic role in this regard, because we can really bridge the MENA region with the northern part of Europe, where there maybe not as much capacity. green energy.

“Saudi Arabia, and this has been said very clearly by this government, really pushes a lot on the production of green energy, and Italy is at the forefront with our own industries,” he said. declared.

Di Stefano expects cooperation between Italy and Saudi Arabia, already strong through the G20 troika, to develop further.

“I think we can do more because there is a huge complementarity between our countries which is sometimes underestimated. We are obviously very attached to European values ​​and market characteristics, and we ask for the same understanding when dealing with other countries. Nevertheless, it is a bilateral relationship which is fundamental for us.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the most important countries in the MENA region, and Italy already has good cases of cooperation, such as within the G20. When we meet at the table, we speak the same language, ”he added.

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