Italy to provide Saudi Arabia's police with counter-terrorism, security training
The talks between Alfano and Saudi officials also touched on several other subjects such as the refugee crisis and the Islamic community in Italy. (AFP/FIle)
Saudi Arabia and Italy have pledged to work closely in the field of security and counter-terrorism following wide-ranging talks between Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, minister of interior, here Monday.
The talks focused on new initiatives in the fields of security, police training and counter-terrorism, besides a range of bilateral and regional issues. During the talks, King Salman and the Italian minister also “reviewed bilateral relations and areas of cooperation,” while emphasizing the significance of closer ties between the Kingdom and Italy due to common threats and challenges.
Alfano, who has had two-hour marathon talks with Crown Prince Mohammed on Sunday night, conveyed his country’s preparedness to train Saudi police personnel on security and counter-terrorism. “The training in Italy will help the Saudi personnel to acquire more policing skills and improve professionalism in the force,” said the Italian minister, in an exclusive interview with Arab News, on Monday.
He said the training is structured to accommodate police officers and security personnel of different levels and categories. To this end, he said that “a technical delegation from Italy will shortly visit the Kingdom, or vice versa, to prepare the details of the training programs.”
The agreement in the field of police collaboration comes within the framework of a long-dormant security pact that was signed between the Kingdom and Italy in 2007. “And that agreement has been relaunched during my visit,” said Alfano.
He pointed out that his talks with senior Saudi officials also touched on “key bilateral and regional issues, including the need to step up cooperation in the field of security, police training, counter-terrorism, and intelligence sharing, as well as joint effort to fight extremism and terrorism.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif hosted a dinner banquet for the Italian interior minister on Monday night.
Referring to subjects of the talks with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed and Shoura Council President Abdullah Al-Asheikh, the Italian minister said that “we had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and a wide range of international and regional issues of common interest including Syria, Iran, Yemen and Libya.”
He said that “the two sides expressed their satisfaction with the development of bilateral relations, and political mutual trust.” The talks between Alfano and Saudi officials also touched on several other subjects like the refugee crisis, the Islamic community in Italy, and an appreciation from the Italian minister for successful management of Haj this year.
On regional cooperation, the Italian minister said that “the continuous deepening of Saudi-Italian relations, and Saudi-EU relations within the framework of NATO operations serves the common interests of the peoples of the two countries, and greatly contributes to “regional peace and stability as well as peace in the world at large.”
The Kingdom and Italy have forged closer ties in different sectors. On the commercial front, Italian companies, and Italians living in the Kingdom, have traditionally played a crucial role in the construction of many infrastructure projects. Saudi Arabia is also Italy’s main commercial partner in the Gulf and among the countries in the Arab world. The total value of trade between the two countries exceeded $10 billion last year.
The Italian interior minister was accompanied by his wife Tiziana Alfano during the trip.
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