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Italian National Day: the speech of Ambassador Salzano

Your Excellency Sheikh Ahmad bin Jassim bin Mohammad Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce of the State of Qatar;
Your Excellency Doctor Ahmad bin Hasan Al Hammadi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar;
Your Excellency Giovanni Nistri, General Commander of Carabinieri;
Your Excellency Ambassador Ibrahim Fakhroo, Director of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar;
Your Excellency Ali Ibrahim Ahmed, Ambassador of the State of Eritrea to the State of Qatar and Dean of the Diplomatic corps;

Fellow Ambassadors, distinguished guests and friends, cari connazionali.

Good evening. Buonasera. Masah al khair.

Welcome to the 72nd Italian National Day and welcome to Italy, more precisely to Milano, here in La Galleria! We are delighted to be back at Al Hazm for the second year in a row, to celebrate our National Day. Tonight the Galleria and the Piazza look even more special to us irradiated by the colors of our flag.

I wish to thank all our sponsors for contributing to the organization of this event, in particular our Platinum partners: the Italian infrastructure company ANAS, the Italian Restaurant Sasso and HORATII Tiramisu’ Lounge.

This year we are honored by the presence of Giovanni Nistri, the General Commander of the Carabinieri Forces. We are extremely grateful to the Carabinieri force for their remarkable role. Besides their significant commitment on our national territory, Carabinieri also operate abroad in many crisis areas, working hand in hand with diplomacy to protect peace and stability and to safeguard cultural heritage and the environment. We are thankful to all the men and women of the Arma dei Carabinieri for the services rendered to our nation and for the security support to our Embassies abroad.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends,

Last year, on the occasion of my very first National Day in Doha, I underlined the great potential of cooperation between Italy and Qatar. Today, I have the privilege to see that such assumptions have turned into tangible results, achieved promptly at a steady pace.
The political dialogue between our two Governments is currently stronger than ever: in less than eight months the Prime Minister Gentiloni and four Italian Ministers visited Qatar. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense also payed a second visit to Qatar in this short time frames.

Our bilateral trade has reached 2.3 billion Euros in 2017, increasing 9% from the previous year. The presence of Italian companies in Qatar is stronger and outspread in all the key sectors, also thanks to the excellent work of the Italian Trade Agency and the Italian Chamber of Commerce. Qatar’s investments in Italy have also significantly increased.

Figures are important, but the most effective measure of the depth and the strength of our friendship is by far the capacity to stand together, both in successful as well as challenging times, as real friends do. Qatar has recently overcome many hurdles. It’s people have proudly demonstrated how united this Country is and its wise leadership has shown a remarkable ability to effectively manage regional crisis, both on an economic and a social level.

Amid this challenging scenario, Qatar’s policies of trade diversification and development of domestic manufacturing are opening up to more bilateral cooperation and opportunities.

Infrastructures are developing at fast-pace and many Italian companies are carrying out the main projects of the stadiums, metro lines and hospitals that will cater for the multitude of visitors expected for the 2022 World Cup. We are particularly proud to remark that ANAS, the Italian leading company in road development, has been selected by Ashgal as quality controller for all road projects in Qatar and that an Italian consortium was recently chosen to design the new Food Storage Facilities for Hamad Port.

Defense has become a key area where institutional dialogue and cooperation take place. On the occasion of the significant Italian participation to DIMDEX 2018, the Italian Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy visited Doha; shortly after, the Italian and Qatari Chief of Staff of Armed Forces met to discuss ongoing and new programs for the training of hundreds of Qatari Navy and Air force officers in Italy. We are delighted to share with them our expertise and experience in this field.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The cooperation between Italy and Qatar does not occur only on a bilateral level, but also persists in multilateral fora and international organizations, especially within the United Nations system.
In this regard allow me to mention two points related to human rights protection. First of all, as member of the International Labor Organization and hosting country of ILO training office in Turin, Italy welcomes the recent opening of the first ILO project office in Doha which falls within the ambitious reform path instituted by Qatar to improve local recruitment and employment conditions. The opening of ILO project office demonstrates Qatar’s strong commitment to cooperate closely with foreign partners in line with international standards. Secondly we are pleased to share this year with Qatar the chairmanship of the Group of Friends on the Responsibility to Protect at the United Nations, advocating stronger protection of populations at risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends,

in this marvelous gallery evoking Italian architecture, I cannot forget to reiterate our cooperation in the cultural sector. Her Highness Sheika Mayassa, recently highlighted that the demand for Italian cultural presence is increasing significantly in Qatar and therefore we are working closely with Qatari institutions to meet this demand by planning more joint activities in the fields of arts, museums, cinema and cultural heritage protection. The decision of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano to attend the Opening in Doha of Italian Design Day, choosing Qatar within 100 countries, reflects our commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in this field.

Italy and Qatar are also teaming-up in the sport sector. Qatar Airways recently became the official sponsor of the football team Roma. International sports competitions in Doha gather here our best champions and athletes. The Gymnastics World Championships next October, the World Championship in Athletics in 2019, the MotoGP, not to mention the 2022 FIFA World Cup, just to give an idea of the crucial role of sport in Qatar. This certainly means there will be more and more Italian fans visiting Doha!

These people-to-people contacts – between our businessmen, artists, academics and young athletes – are the pillars of our friendship.
And they are now facilitated by an even stronger connectivity. The new airline Air Italy – born from the partnership between Meridiana and Qatar Airways – will bring our Countries closer through new connections to new destinations. Next Monday I shall be joining the press conference and ceremony for the delivery of the first new aircraft of Air Italy at Milan Malpensa airport together with the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar al Baker.

Let me conclude by addressing my fellow nationals:

Dear Italians,
I want to give you my warm and thankful welcome: today we celebrate together, proudly, what we have been able to achieve with talent and devotion in our Country and that we bring with us all over the world and here in Qatar.
In my first year in Qatar I have had the opportunity to meet you, to cooperate with you and to participate in your professional successes which are the successes of all our Italian System.
Together, being a team, we will reach more and more important goals, for us and for the Republic we have the honor to represent here in Qatar.

Grazie a tutti, viva l’Italia, viva il Qatar!