Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni began her first visit to the UAE on Friday, meeting Industry and Advanced Technology Minister Sultan Al-Jaber, who is also the designate chairman of the 2023 UN Conference on Climate Change, in Abu Dhabi.
A senior Italian diplomatic source told that Italy will offer the UAE “reinforced cooperation” on COP28, which will be held at the Expo City in Dubai from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.
A declaration of enhanced cooperation for COP28 will be signed during Meloni’s visit, with the same diplomatic source explaining that it will position Italy as a “strategic partner on environmental issues and the fight against climate change.”Meloni is in Abu Dhabi with Italy’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani.During the two-day visit, Meloni will seek to consolidate bilateral relations between Italy and the UAE, with a special focus on cooperation in energy and environmental issues.She will be received on Saturday by UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
On Friday, the prime minister will meet the Italian community in Abu Dhabi and will have a working dinner with the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.Meloni’s trip follows on from a visit to the UAE by Italy’s Defense Minister Guido Crosetto on Feb. 7 to relaunch ties following tensions in recent years over the former Etihad Airways-Alitalia partnership, and the block on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE introduced by the government of Giuseppe Conte in 2021.
The UAE is Italy’s biggest market in the Middle East and North Africa region, and over 600 Italian companies are present in the country.
According to the Italian Trade Commission, commercial exchange between Italy and the UAE in the first 10 months of 2022 reached €6.6 billion ($7 billion), an increase of 15.5 percent on the previous year. Jewelry (€1.1 billion), mechanics (€773 million), and agri-food (€346 million) are Italy’s the main export sectors to the UAE.