The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luigi Di Maio,
met with Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in Al-Ula on 10 January 2021.
In the recent past, King Abdullah visited Rome in 2007, when various cooperation agreements were signed (see section related to Agreements). Moreover, on the basis of his initiative in favor of inter-religious dialogue, King Abdullah also made the first historic visit of a Saudi Sovereign to the Vatican, where he met with Pope Benedict XVI.
Shortly after King Salman’s accession to the throne in 2015, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Riyadh and met with the Sovereign. A few months later, Foreign Minister Gentiloni arranged a mission to Jeddah, during which the situation in Libya and the constructive Saudi role in influencing the ongoing crisis in the region were specifically addressed. On that occasion, Minister Gentiloni also met with the then Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, with whom he discussed the Saudi reform plan “Vision 2030”, launched in 2016 on the initiative of the Prince himself and aimed at diversifying the Kingdom’s economy and gradually reducing the dependence from oil revenues.
More recently, in Al-Ula on January 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luigi Di Maio, met with Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. Core issues of the agenda were the Italian Presidency of the G20, following the Saudi Presidency on 2020, and the commitment to fight against COVID-19, in addition to the strengthening of economic and trade relations. As a result of the mission, the two Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides for the launch of a bilateral strategic dialogue between Italy and Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Foreign Minister regularly participates in the Mediterranean (MED) Dialogues forum, organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in conjunction with the Institute for International Policy Studies (ISPI). This forum, which is usually held annually in December, sees the participation of several international delegations, led by Ministers and Deputy Ministers, as well as representatives of international organizations, together with representatives of the private sector and academic researchers, with the aim of looking into the on-going developments in the Mediterranean and Middle East region and strengthening dialogue between partners.