Italy’s Minister of the Interior Giovanni Renaldo Coronas left Riyadh this morning after a three-day visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the invitation of Saudi Minister of the Interior Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz. During his visit, a bilateral security agreement was signed in the area of combating terrorism, drug-smuggling and organized crime.
On his arrival on Saturday, December 16, Minister Coronas was welcomed by Prince Naif on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz. Prince Naif praised the friendly, deep-rooted ties linking the Kingdom and Italy, and expressed satisfaction at the steady progress of their bilateral relations, saying that this visit would open new horizons for further development of these ties. The Italian interior minister congratulated the Saudi government and people on King Fahd’s recent discharge from hospital, in good and reassuring health, thanked Prince Naif for the warm reception, and expressed his delight at the opportunity to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The objective of his visit, he said, is to sign an agreement for cooperation between the two countries to combat organized crime, drugs and terrorism in view of the leading role of the Kingdom in preserving peace and stability in the region.
In a statement after the signing of the agreement on Sunday, December 17, Prince Naif expressed the hope that the agreement would serve the interests of all citizens in the two friendly countries. Asked about a strategy to correct the wrong image of a link between terrorism and Islam, Prince Naif said that he had explained to the Italian interior minister that Saudi Arabia rejects terrorism because of its Islamic beliefs, stressing that the Kingdom refuses to be a venue for terrorism. He said that he and Minister Coronas had similar views on the issues that came up for discussion during their meeting.
Asked how the agreement would serve the purposes of security in the European states and in the Arab world, Prince Naif said: “The two countries have ties with other states around the world, and the strategic location of the Kingdom lays on it a great responsibility especially as regards protecting young people from the danger of drugs.”
He added that the Italian interior minister had pointed out that Saudi Arabia has the lowest crime statistics in the world, thanks to the rule of the Islamic Shari’a and the good moral behavior of the Saudi people.
For his part, Minister Coronas said: “The agreement focuses on exchanging expertise, data, and the technology to fight crime as well as combating terrorism and drug-smuggling”. Referring to Italy’s conviction that no country can fight terrorism and organized crime on its own, he added: “There is a need for all countries to forge cooperation in order to eliminate this sort of violence which hinders peaceful coexistence."
The phenomenon of terrorism, he said, cannot be linked to a particular religious belief or sect, because beliefs are above every individual and must be respected by all. He described the relations between the Kingdom and Italy as “friendly and based on mutual respect”, adding that Prince Naif had reminded him that Italy was the first country to recognize the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. He indicated that Saudi Arabia was the first country he personally had wanted to visit as Minister of the Interior, because of its importance not only in the Middle East but also in the Mediterranean basin.