Italy-Kazakhstan cooperation is increasing enormously – Ambassador Pasquale D’Avino
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM - Italian Ambassador to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Pasquale D’Avino sat down with Kazinform correspondent to discuss the current state and the future of Italian-Kazakhstan bilateral relations.
First of all, I would like to talk about this unfortunate moment of coronavirus, if you allow me. There has been big misunderstanding. Italy is the safest country in the world. Italy is the country that has done more control checking than any other country compared to the population. We have 60 million Italians and we did 22,000 controls. The other Western countries, they did few hundreds. We did 22,000. In terms of prevention Italy is the safest country compared to the population.
So we don’t want to see the bilateral relations being affected by the wrong interpretation of Italian data. The Italian health system is one of the best in the world. We are one of the few countries in the world that can assure public care therapy for free to everybody and everywhere across the country. This is the safest place to travel, this is the safest country in terms of coronavirus prevention and control.
So, there is a big misunderstanding. You don’t have to count how many cases you have, you have to count how strong the public health system of the country is. If you see few hundred cases in countries, big countries with 50 million or 300 million people, where they have few hundred preventions instead of 22,000 like in Italy, you have to wonder what is the prevention system of those countries?
Italy is the number one and the safest country in the world to travel and we cannot accept a bad perception given by a wrong communication, also by some social media or some so to say communication people that they are doing the wrong communication.
Italy has responded with readiness, proportionality and maximum transparency (contrary to many countries) to the global emergency of COVID-19, adopting all the measures recognized as necessary also by the World Health Organization
The network of hospitals and the national civil protection system responded with great professionalism, keeping the situation fully under control, in accordance with the principles of the World Health Organization. In fact, unlike many other countries, there are no patients without assistance. In order to protect the right to health and information, guaranteed by our Constitution, our government has decided to take proportionate prevention and containment measures and disclose actual and actual data on the spread of the virus to our citizens. I ask Kazakhstan to treat Italy like the other European countries as regards health measures against Italians who visit or work in this country.
Unfortunately, the situation has led the government to take temporary restrictions to movement in order to slow down the outbreak but I want to invite our Kazakh friends to come back to Italy once the emergency is finished. In the meantime, I invite them to experience Italian cuisine and lifestyle here in Kazakhstan: our products are perfectly safe, checked and of the highest quality, beloved all around the world.
What is the history of political and diplomatic relations between Italy and Kazakhstan? What is being done in this sphere nowadays?
The political relations between Italy and Kazakhstan are excellent. As you probably know,
The friendly political relations between
Then, we had many political visits of many Italian leaders, namely former Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. He’s coming regularly to the Astana Club, he doesn’t miss one meeting of the Astana Club. Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Kazakhstanin 2014. An Italian delegation visited
Also, last December in Rome we invited all the foreign ministers of Central Asia, including the Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister, for the first International Conference «Italy and Central Asia: Strengthening Mutual Understanding, Cooperation and Partnership». We are also going to have the Italian-Kazakh Economic Business Council here in Nur-Sultan this year. We need to decide the date. Our delegation will probably be led by the Minister of Economic Development.
What about the economic relations between Italy and Kazakhstan?
As for economic cooperation, we were the first European trade partner of Kazakhstan. Italy’s Eni is among other European companies, namely Shell which is Dutch and Total which is French, to do oil and gas in Kazakhstan.
But besides oil and gas we were the first to export to
For instance, last year the Italian exports to
In 2019 oil supplies from Kazakhstan to Italy decreased by 30% in comparison with 2018. What can you say about that?
You see, oil and gas is very fluctuating and hard to interpret, because Italians are doing many things with oil and gas. First, we are doing the extraction of oil and gas which is very complicated from the technological point of view. We have the technology to do this. So, this is the first contribution to the economy of
The Italian language is very popular in Kazakhstan. It is taught in many institutions in
It is going very strong. The demand from the Kazakh people of the Italian language and culture is enormous. Just to give few examples. We have presence in almost all cities of
The relationship with the Astana Opera and Ballet Theater is amazing. We are the only country that almost every year brings here dozens of Italian artists and opera conductors. Last year we did three major tours of the Astana Opera in
The Kazakh people more and more go to
As for the trade,
Also, we organize many missions of the Kazakh businessmen to another trade show – the International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition, which is in Bologna every October-November. And then we have the Atameken Chamber of Commerce organizing the show of Italian shoes in May. It is always successful. The Kazakhs understand the quality of Italian shoes, they can be a little bit more expensive than the other shoes, but the quality is superior. So, the Kazakh people buy more and more. We’ve seen a great interest of Kazakh businessmen in the fashion industry. As you probably know, we have more fashion brands than any country in the world. But the Kazakh businessmen understand the profitability of this kind of trade. Some Kazakh capitalists are investing in Italian fashion companies, such as Max Mara, for instance. So, you see that the marriage in trade is very strong.
Italy is also renowned for developing infrastructure. What can you say about Kazakhstan-Italian cooperation in transport and logistics?
We have a very strong infrastructure. The roads built at the beginning of the Roman Empire are still there 2,000 years after. Two big names - Salini Impregilo and Todini – they built many roads here and they are still competing to participate in many construction projects. One of these projects of Todini is the one linking Almaty and Khorgos. Many others will come. Also, in the railway sector we have many projects in which some Italian companies will participate. We are also present in logistics on the Caspian Sea where Italians are very strong.
Thank you so much for your time.
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