Tunisian-Italian Higher Council of Strategic Partnership at heart of joint press conference between Jhinaoui and Milanesi

Minister of Foreign Affairs Khemaies Jhinaoui had a meeting Tuesday in Tunis with his Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi.

Speaking at a joint press briefing after the meeting, Mr. Jhinaoui said the Italian FM is visiting Tunisia as part of his participation in the Tunisian-Italian Higher Council of Strategic Partnership that met for the first time on Tuesday morning in the presence of both countries’ FMs.
"Emphasis was placed on the need to follow up on the decisions of the Tunisian-Italian Higher Council for Strategic Partnership at the level of the two countries’ ministries of foreign affairs," said Mr. Jhinaoui.
The two sides reviewed the development of bilateral relations and co-operation between the two countries "which are growing at a fast rate in different fields," stressing, saying "the Tunisian-Italian cooperation is rich and diverse".
Italy is Tunisia's second-largest economic partner and its top supplier, the MFA said, underscoring the two countries' desire to boost economic cooperation and adjust it to meet the priorities of Tunisia, particularly in the areas of investment promotion, unemployment and youth employment.
"With my colleague, we agreed to place importance on cooperation in the field of youth," he said, adding that this is a decision made in 2016 by President Beji Caid Essebsi during his state visit to Italy.
Jhinaoui said the meeting also discussed the developments of the situation in the region, especially in Libya.
He, in this vein, pointed to the two countries’ similar views on the Libyan issue, namely an immediate cease-fire and the continuation of dialogue in order to reach an inter-Libyan consensual solution, without foreign interference.
The two sides also agreed to broaden the circle of friends of Tunisia and Italy to rally international support to end the bloodshed in this country and restart the negotiations under the sponsorship of the United Nations, he further indicated.
The fight against irregular migration, trafficking in persons and terrorism was also tackled.
Mr. Jhinaoui has also invited Italy to support Tunisia with the European Union, especially as it is preparing to participate in the EU-Tunisia Association Council next May in Brussels.
For his part, Milanesi said "we believe in this cooperation with Tunisia, that is all the more important as the two countries are close geographically and historically".
It is necessary to develop this co-operation and intensify it on a regular basis, through continuous exchanges on issues of common interest, he said.
The Italian Minister also welcomed the convergence of views on several points and particularly the Libyan issue.
"It is essential to restore peace in this neighboring country," he said, adding that "there is no military solution."
According to him, it is essential to continue an inclusive dialogue that will involve all stakeholders.

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