Accompanied by the Military Advisor, Admiral Carlo Massagli, Diplomatic Advisor, Amb. Pietro Benassi and Chief Press Officer and Spokesman of the Italian State House, Mr. Rocco Casalino, the Italian Prime Minister, and Prof. Giuseppe Conte arrived in Asmara following a two-day visit to Ethiopia.
Upon his arrival in the morning hours at the International Airport of Asmara, the Prime Minister was welcomed by President, Isaias Afwerki, Ministers, Delegates and the Ambassador of Italy to Eritrea, Mr. Stefano Moscatelli.
The people of Eritrea and Italy have had friendly relations for over a century which is reflected in the cultural unison noticeable in the architecture and lifestyles of Eritreans.
The Prime Minster was greeted by people who stood along the avenues of Asmara as the motorcade headed towards the State House. At Semaetat Avenue Italian school students went out to welcome the Prime Minster on behalf of their schools.
At the State House, the two leaders held extensive talks on strengthening bilateral relations. The Prime Minster congratulated the Government and the People of Eritrea on the normalization of the Eritrea-Ethiopia relations. Referring to the resumption of Eri-Ethio relations as an end of a tragic chapter in the history of the two countries, Conte affirmed that Italy strongly supports the peace process and expressed Italy’s readiness to promote “investments, cooperation projects, education programs, technical and professional training and political dialogues in the region.” He went on to say that “today we assist to new positive dynamics in the whole region, bringing a new age of peace and prosperity in the Horn of Africa.”
In their very brief promenade at the court yard of the State House, Prime Minister Conte noticed an old Italian canon and was delighted to see other remnants of the early 20th century legacy, led by President Isaias. Asmara, the modernist city of Africa was built during the Italian colonization. Most of Asmara’s architectural glamour has been maintained by its inhabitants, and Asmara is, indeed, an open museum. Likewise, the State House, a neoclassical marvel is one of the biggest beauty spots of Asmara. Built in 1897 by Ferdinando Martin, it echoes Renaissance.
In his briefing to local and international media outlets, Prime Minister Conte expressed his gratitude to President Isaias for the welcome they received. Like other Italians, the Prime Minster affirmed that he, too, felt at home in Asmara, “Piccola Roma” and said: “We were extremely satisfied with the recognition of Asmara as a World heritage Site by UNESCO… a unique place where in the first decades of the 20th century, Italian artists and architects felt free to make amazing urban experiments and put down very innovative ideas.”
On his way back to the airport, following a luncheon hosted in the State House, the Prime Minister had even a better and closer look of Asmara in a rapid tour through Harenet Avenue, to the Ministry of Education building, Cattedrale, Palazzo Faletta, the building of Administration of Central Region, Mercato, Inda Mariam, Al Kurafa Arashidi Mosque,Piazza Michiele, the hundreds superb edifices and the iconic Fiat Tagliero building.
President Isaias saw the Italian Prime Minsiter seen off in the afternoon hours.
“The Prime Minster’s visit is a sign of consolidating relations also a proof of the longstanding and strong liaison between the people of Eritrea and Italy,” explained Eritrea’s Presidential Advisor, Mr. Yemane Ghebreab. The leaders, in Mr. Yemane’s words, agreed to refurbish the historic ties assenting on further prospects in economic, political and cultural grounds. Clarifying that the recent developments in the Horn are of significance to the Republic of Italy, he went on to declare that in the nearest future, an Eritrean delegation will make on official visit to the Republic of Italy while in the coming month the arrival of an Italian delegation is expected.
The new stage of agreement between Eritrea and Italy comes with peace on the horizon. Following recent political dynamics in the Horn, Eritrea is now a major attraction to investments. The revival of the historic ties between the two countries is expected to be beneficial both on economic and cultural integration amongst the two peoples.