Italy and Saudi Arabia are progressively expanding and strengthening their bilateral relations at the economic and commercial level, due to a growing interest in mutual beneficiary joint ventures, and are also actively engaged in order to enhance their political and cultural ties.
Within the political framework, Italy and Saudi Arabia share the priority of contributing to the stabilization of the Middle East region. With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the two countries agree on a “two states for two peoples” solution and are both committed to initiatives aimed at reactivating the peace process. On the Saudi side, the plan put forward in 2002 based on the principle of “territories in exchange for peace” is still valid. On the Iraqi front, common efforts are directed to promote real and lasting peace for the country, as demonstrated by the shared commitment in the wider framework of the Global Coalition to fight against Daesh/ISIS. Both countries are deeply concerned by the current situation in Yemen, since the initiatives to start a dialogue with the Houthi movement remain largely unsuccessful, and in Afghanistan, where the withdrawal of the international troops has generated political instability and increased the terrorist threat. Equal attention is paid to any development in relation with Iran and the influence that this country may exert on various scenarios in the Middle East.
With the shift of the G20 Presidency from Saudi Arabia (2020) to Italy (2021), in the last year Saudi and Italian institutions have had the opportunity to closely collaborate at different levels on various international initiatives, such as those in favor of the vaccination campaign and in support of a post-pandemic recovery. This collaboration – political, economic and scientific – has taken place in the framework of the G20 Troika (Past, Current and Incoming Presidency), thus contributing to focus the attention of the G20 economies on the priorities identified by the Italian Presidency and framed in the triad “People, Planet, Prosperity”.
In the cultural field, the priorities remain the development of the inter-cultural dialogue already in place and the growth of interaction in the field of professional training, scientific and inter-university exchange, as well as the protection of Saudi Arabia historical heritage. In this sense, thanks to its expertise in the field of restoration and conservation of cultural heritage, Italy is offering a significant contribution in terms of ideas, knowledge and skills to re-evaluate archaeological sites (e.g. Al-Diriyah and Al-Ula) and transform them into attractive locations, thus favoring the objective identified by Vision 2030 to increase tourism in Saudi Arabia.