Italy ‘deeply understands’ region’s challenges: Sisi invites Renzi to Egypt
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi REUTERS/Remo Casilli

CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi invited Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi Tuesday to visit Egypt, thanking him for “active” Italian participation at the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) last week.

Sisi also praised Renzi’s speech at the EEDC, saying that Italy’s position reflects “complete awareness and deep understanding of the nature and scale of the region’s challenges,” according to a presidential statement.

“Egypt’s challenge is our challenge; Egypt’s journey is our journey and Egypt’s stability is our stability,” Renzi said at the EEDC, adding that Italy supports the country’s wisdom, vision and sense of direction to achieve an inclusive economic and social future for Egyptians.

“[W]e appreciate your leadership and the wisdom in coping with the ongoing regional situation,” the Italian prime minister addressed Sisi.

Italy’s oil company Eni signed an agreement with the Egyptian government at EEDC, injecting investments worth $5 billion to produce 900 million cubic feet of gas in the Mediterranean, the Western Desert, the Nile Delta and Sinai.

Sisi visited Italy in November, where he met with the Egyptian-Italian Business Council and discussed countering terrorism, the Libyan crisis, and the issue of illegal immigration in the Mediterranean with Renzi.

“Our countries are rich [in] history. It is not very easy to build a future in a place rich [in] past, because the past is very important; it is clear. But [to] build a future in a country rich [in] past is particularly important, is particularly difficult,” Renzi said in his speech last week.

“[W]e have an incredible past, but I am sure we [have] an incredible future and together we will build it,” he concluded.

In Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab’s concluding speech at EEDC, he noted that Renzi spoke “as if he were Egyptian and knows what Egypt means.”

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