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Opinions & Interviews

2 Jun 2020

Italian Ambassador: Relations with Belarus are strong regardless of misfortunes

Italian Ambassador: Relations with Belarus are strong regardless of misfortunes
Mario Giorgio Stefano Baldi. An archive photo

MINSK, 2 June (BelTA) - Relations between Italy and Belarus are strong regardless of any misfortunes, Italian Ambassador to Belarus Mario Giorgio Stefano Baldi said during a video address on the occasion of the Republic Day on 2 June, BelTA has learned.

The head of the diplomatic mission is convinced that relations between the two countries do not depend on the composition of the governments or trade dynamics. These relationships are strong because they are based primarily on feelings, not just interests. They do not depend on the changes or vagaries that are sometimes characteristic of politics or the economy.

He noted that this year the holiday coincided with a very difficult period in the life of both countries. "Probably never in the almost 30-year history of diplomatic relations between Italy and Belarus have our peoples experienced such a dramatic moment, full of sorrow, concern about the health of our relatives, complete uncertainty about our future and the future of our children,” the diplomat said. "Nevertheless, it is also true that it was during the pandemic that we felt how strong the bonds of friendship, solidarity and mutual respect between Italy and Belarus are,” he added.

The ambassador stressed that Italians highly appreciate the friendship, support and solidarity demonstrated by Belarusian citizens. “At the embassy, we have received many words of support,  have seen many expressions of warmth and spontaneous offers of cooperation, which gave us more courage. Those were letters, electronic messages, a painting reminding of the much-suffering city of Bergamo gifted by a young Belarusian artist and which today occupies an honorable place in my office. The dramatic moments of the crisis reminded us of many things: first of all, about the most important things such as solidarity, generosity, altruism, sacrifice. Those were the feelings that helped Italy to move forward during these difficult weeks, and we saw them on the faces and in the gestures of our doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, military, civil defense volunteers and many people who continued to perform their duties with courage and openness. These are the feelings that are the foundation of human relations and the best guarantee for sustainable ties between our countries,” the ambassador said.

Ambassador Mario Giorgio Stefano Baldi stressed that, despite many problems that the pandemic has brought, he is optimistic about the future of relations between Italy and Belarus: “I believe, for example, that recuperation trips and tourist flows between our countries will be back on track soon. The agreement between Belarus and the European Union on visa facilitation, which will take effect soon, will contribute to this as well. I especially believe that reducing the cost of the visa to €35 will give a significant boost to the number of tourists and trips to Italy.”

He also spoke about the prospects of trade and economic relations. “I am confident that trade will gradually recover, and maybe by the end of this year we will reach the goal of €1 billion in mutual trade, focusing on export diversification, green and sustainable economy. On our part, we will do everything to achieve the goal. We will also do everything possible to promote the Italian language and culture, our tourist destinations, as well as numerous achievements under the brand names ‘made in Italy’ and ‘live as an Italian’, starting with the delicacies of our wine-gastronomy, which is our kind of oil. We will work even harder to ensure that the relations between Italy and Belarus develop in all areas, including cooperation in science and technology, using the potential and resources that the relevant bilateral agreement provides us with,” he said.

According to the ambassador, Italy will make even more efforts to intensify the political dialogue between the two countries to increase trust and understanding between governments, parliaments and civil societies in the common interest of more harmonious, legal and prosperous communities.

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