Tunis/Tunisia — 7 cooperation agreements were signed, on Tuesday in Tunis, between Tunisia and Italy in several areas including energy, education and decentralisation.
At a press briefing following the first meeting of the Tunisian-Italian Higher Council of Strategic Partnership, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, signed the joint declaration of the first meeting of the Tunisian-Italian Higher Council of Strategic Partnership between Tunisia and Italy on the prospects for the bilateral partnership in the coming period.
Another agreement was signed between Tunisia and Italy on strengthening the Elmed electricity transmission infrastructure to promote energy exchanges between Europe and North Africa.
According to Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, this agreement will enable the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company and the Italian Electricity Company to effectively launch the project by 2023.
Funded by the European Union by 600 million euros, the first tranche of this project received an estimated Italian contribution of 5 million euros to prepare the studies needed to carry out this project.
Besides, an agreement was signed between Tunisia and Italy on the conversion of a second tranche of Tunisian debts into investment projects worth €25 million from 2020 to finance part of the integrated development project in El Mohdeth in the El Faouar delegation.
This project consists in developing 1,000 hectares for palm plantation for a budget of 155 million dinars. Italy has contributed 500,000 euros to finance the study specific to this project.
A memorandum of understanding on the improvement of school infrastructure and services in primary schools through a credit of 25 million euros was also signed.
Another MoU on the implementation of a programme to strengthen decentralisation in Tunisia in the form of a grant of 25 million euros for the construction and equipping of 31 new municipalities was inked by both sides.
The Tunisian and Italian ministries of foreign affairs also signed a MoU on the training of diplomats.
A memorandum of understanding on the Tunisian-Italian borderless savings account project was also inked.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Youssef Chahed stressed that the Tunisian-Italian Higher Council of Strategic Partnership will strengthen dialogue between the two countries in several areas.
He added that this Council is a concrete expression of the bilateral agreement signed in May 2012 on the establishment of a strategic partnership between the two countries.
Chahed commended Italy's support to Tunisia since 2011, indicating that this country is among Tunisia's leading customers in terms of imports and its second economic partner in terms of foreign investment, which amounts to more than 1850 million dinars, knowing that there are about 900 Italian companies operating in Tunisia that generate more than 68 thousand jobs.
The Prime Minister said that the Italian Government has increased scholarships in Italy for Tunisian students from 72 during the past academic year to 180 scholarships in 2018-2019
He also stressed that Tunisia counts on Italy's support for the Tunisian security forces, which needed equipment and training to strengthen their capacities, particularly in the fight against terrorism.
As regards migration, Chahed stressed that the fight against irregular migration will be fought through a security and development approach based on the development of inland regions and the improvement of living conditions, in addition to opening official channels to encourage regular and organised migration.
For his part, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stressed that Italy advocates a political and diplomatic solution in Libya and hopes that the transition in Algeria will take place in a peaceful manner and without the interference of foreign parties.
Conte reaffirmed Italy's commitment to support Tunisia and its efforts, which he described as important, in the fight against terrorism.
Read the original article on Tunis Afrique Presse.
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