Palazzo del Quirinale 19/11/2018

Speech by the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella on the occasion of the State Lunch for His Highness the Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

Your Highness,

Ministers, Authorities,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

with feelings of sincere friendship I express my warmest welcome to Your Highness.

I am very pleased to be able to host You today, together with the delegation that accompanies You, at the Quirinal.

Your presence in Italy - our second chance to meet in Rome in less than three years - is a significant testimony to the excellent relationships that unite our two countries; relationships that have been rapidly strengthened and diversified, giving impetus to frequent and fruitful contacts, not only between Institutions, Governments and businesses but also increasingly - and this is a circumstance I note with particular pleasure - between cultural and academic realities.

Italy observes with participation the path of economic, social and cultural growth that Qatar is making under Your leadership.

A path in which the dialogue between Doha and Rome is becoming more and more structured and multifaceted, going well beyond the relevant economic sphere that registers, among other things, a significant presence of investments in our country.

Culture, education, scientific-technological research, health, arts, sport are all pillars of the strengthening of this affinity.

Sport itself, a privileged vehicle for promoting the highest moral values, is offering, by organizing the next World Cup in Qatar in 2022, new and important opportunities for cooperation for our countries.

We are pleased to be able to contribute with our excellences to this path, as well as to many other projects, thanks to the trust placed in the Italian professionalism and experience, a trust that is reflected in a constantly growing interchange.

Your Highness,

the Italian Republic is pleased to note that fruitful bilateral cooperation finds expression in the multilateral context too.

For Italy, the validity of international law and the aptitude for the peaceful settlement of disputes are fundamental and constitutive values of the international community.

A community that Qatar has chosen to join in an increasingly effective way, as also evidenced by the encouraging dialogue with the International Labour Organization, in the process of reforms concerning the rights of foreign workers in Your Country.

With this approach, I renew a heartfelt hope that the tensions existing today in the Gulf area will soon find a diplomatic solution based on mutual understanding, turning into a desirable opportunity for renewed cooperation for all the countries involved, thus contributing to the détente and stability in a region not free from conflicts and disagreements.

Your Highness,

the possibilities of developing relationships between our two countries have wide and deep horizons. Moreover, the common features of our populations are significant: the strong attention to the education of new generations, the entrepreneurial and commercial spirit, the tendency towards innovation, the pride for their own cultural traditions.

On these important and already shared bases, I am sure that Your visit and the numerous and significant agreements, in various fields, which will conclude these days, will strengthen a fruitful relationship, encourage the deepening of collaboration in strategic areas and consolidate the friendship between our countries.

Renewing my most sincere welcome to You and to the delegation that accompanies You, my wish goes to the prosperity of the Qatari and Italian populations, to Your personal well-being and to the friendship between Qatar and Italy.