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Italy seeks to boost defence ties with UAE: Italian Defence Minister

posted on 21/03/2003: 1943 views

Italian Defence Minister Antonio Martino has expressed his country's desire to boost defence co-operation with the United Arab Emirates. In a statement on the sidelines of the 5-day International defence Exhibition (IDEX-2003), which wrapped up its session yesterday, the Italian senior Minister said co-operation between the two countries in the sector of the defence supplies is excellent. " Negotiations between Italy and the UAE for the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding in the defence field are advanced," Martino stated.

He confirmed that there were significant perspectives for further cooperation, especially for electronic war, flight trainers and certain air defence systems. On the potentials of defence cooperation between Italy and the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, Martino said they were " as promising as with the UAE." " The Italian government is persuaded that the cooperation in this sector will be intensified thanks to the interest of our companies in establishing industrial cooperation with their Gulf-based counterparts," he noted.

On the Iraq crisis, the Italian Defence Minister maintained that his country's main concern was a peaceful solution of the problem according to Resolution 1441 of the UN Security Council, describing the threat of military operation carried out by the U.S and UK as " a solid and convincing deterrent to increase pressure on Iraq."

He argued that the fight against international terrorism " is a challenge that has not been won yet." He added that the international community had sent an equivocal signal regarding its determination to avert a new September 11 to all governments supporting terrorist organisations. On the Arab-Israel conflict, Martino said that only dialogue could bring a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, " which is now dangerously held up in a mutual escalation of mistrust, violence and fanaticism." He urged international politics and diplomacy to seek " new roads" and open " a new season of trust " between the conflicting parties. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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