Italian-Israeli Intergovernmental Consultations. Joint Statement

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Today, December 2, 2013, the Governments of the Italian Republic and of the State of Israel held their fourth intergovernmental consultations in Rome. …

Today, December 2, 2013, the Governments of the Italian Republic and of the State of Israel held their fourth intergovernmental consultations in Rome.

The Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. Enrico Letta, note with satisfaction the progress achieved and the significant developments in relations between the two Governments, further enhanced today through new bilateral agreements which underscore the determination of both Governments to continue promoting cooperation and collaboration in the fields of energy, economics, transportation, research and development, home front security and defence, education, culture and other fields in which the Governments have common interests.

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  • 1. Italian-Israeli Intergovernmental Consultations Joint Statement Rome, December 2, 2013 Today, December 2, 2013, the Governments of the Italian Republic and of the State of Israel held their fourth intergovernmental consultations in Rome. The Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. Enrico Letta, note with satisfaction the progress achieved and the significant developments in relations between the two Governments, further enhanced today through new bilateral agreements which underscore the determination of both Governments to continue promoting cooperation and collaboration in the fields of energy, economics, transportation, research and development, home front security and defence, education, culture and other fields in which the Governments have common interests. The wide array of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries is based on their shared heritage and interests. Both Governments are committed to further enhance the cross fertilization of their unique cultural heritage with a focused science and technology cooperation as a fundamental basis for innovation and a healthy economic growth to the benefit of both Peoples. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Letta expressed confidence in the progress of economic reforms in Israel and in Italy which set conditions for expanded trade, investment and tourism in both directions.
  • 2. The Prime Ministers wish to thank all those who have worked tirelessly to advance the ties between the two countries, with the aim of consolidating their partnership based on further economic growth, cooperation on high technology, science and culture. The following Government members participated in the consultations: On the Israeli side: Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Internal Security Mr. Yitchak Aharonovitz, Minister of Home Front Defense, Mr. Gilad Erdan, Minister of National Infrastructures Energy and Water resources, Mr. Silvan Shalom, Minister of Education, Rabbi Shay Piron, Minister of Culture and Sport. Ms. Limor Livnat On the Italian side: President of the Council, Mr. Enrico Letta, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Mr Angelino Alfano, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Emma Bonino, Minister of Economic Development, Mr Flavio Zanonato, Minister of Education, University and Research, Ms. Maria Chiara Carrozza, Minister of Cultural Heritage, Mr Massimo Bray. Foreign Affairs: The Governments of Italy and Israel concluded today high level meetings, covering a broad range of issues pertaining to their bilateral relations. They note with satisfaction the growing friendly relations and special partnership between the two countries and reaffirm the mutual recognition of their political, security and economic needs.
  • 3. Both Governments acknowledge that mutual collaboration in the bilateral and multilateral fields, including the UN, has to be used as a tool for strengthening stability and peace on the shores of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa. In this context, they express their full satisfaction at the intense and fruitful pace of the bilateral political dialogue and they pledged to further strengthen it. The number of high-level governmental visits to both countries during recent years is testament to the importance and strength of the relationship between the Governments. Both Governments reiterated their objective to strengthen the already close relations and to solidify the unique historical ties between the two societies and cultures. Both Governments remain firmly committed to combating racial discrimination, xenophobia, intolerance and anti-Semitism. This commitment is rooted in the shared values and traditions of both countries. The two Governments recognize the importance and mutual benefits for both Israel and the European Union in promoting peace, democracy and regional cooperation through the European Neighborhood Policy, by encouraging scientific research, academic exchanges, environmental protection and increased cultural ties between the Parties, as well as relevant Mediterranean institutions, including the Union for the Mediterranean. Both Governments highlight the shared goals of setting the conditions for achieving a qualitative leap in the relationship between the European Union and Israel as equal partners, based on the principles of mutual respect, solid ownership and beneficial to both sides, particularly in the Horizon 2020
  • 4. framework program to which Israel’s participation is in the interest of both the EU and Israel. The two Governments recognize the significance and mutual advantages in further deepening NATO-Israel cooperation in the spirit of NATO’s Partnership Policy. To this end, Italy will continue to facilitate, together with other NATO members, the participation of Israel in the relevant North Atlantic Allied structure and programs. Both Governments acknowledge the recent development in Northern Africa and in the Middle East and share their concerns for the increased instability in the region as a result of a growing sectarian divide, terrorism, socio economic underperformance. The two Governments exchanged views and assessments on the most significant International and regional issues, including Syria, the future perspective of the Middle East peace process and Iran. International Development Cooperation: The Governments of Italy and Israel are strongly committed to the global agenda for sustainable development, poverty eradication and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and have decided to hold regular consultations on issues relating to the global development agenda. The two Governments welcome the progress made in the joint development activities in Senegal.
  • 5. Italy and Israel have agreed to further increase their engagement and coordination by extending their development dialogue through Cooperazione Italiana allo Sviluppo and MASHAV and by examining further development cooperation partnerships for the benefit of developing countries. To this end, both South Sudan and Ethiopia are currently under consideration. Holocaust Remembrance: Italy and Israel renewed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research of Italy, the Ministry of Education of Israel and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority on the education about the Holocaust. Both Governments express satisfaction for the strong collaboration between the Ministry of Education, University and Research of Italy and the Yad Vashem in the field of Shoah education, both with the seminars organized for the Italian teachers at the Yad Vashem and with the journeys to the places of remembrance organized for the Italian schools. The two Governments stress the importance of the study, the research and the teaching about the Shoah of the Jewish people during the Second World War. In this spirit, they strongly reiterate that any form of denial regarding horrors of the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of the State of Israel are totally unacceptable. Both Governments will work together on bilateral programs to commemorate the Shoah of the Jewish community of Italy, in order to raise public awareness about the historical facts surrounding these atrocities. The bilateral programme will be coordinated by a joint committee comprised of experts on the Shoah and of representatives of both Ministries of Foreign Affairs, in consultation with Yad Vashem.
  • 6. Education and Youth Exchanges: The two Governments reiterate the importance of sharing their experience concerning the educational systems of both countries and encouraging direct contact and collaborative programs between educational institutions at all levels. The two Governments express satisfaction on the progress made within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Youth and Students Policy, which has already been the base for numerous exchanges between schools of both Countries. They encourage higher education institutions in their bilateral cooperation, maximizing existing experiences and strengthening future collaborations, subjected to the principle of academic autonomy in the higher education systems of both countries. One of the leverages will be the best use of the upcoming European programs for internationalization and learning mobility, in order to support Israeli implementation of reforms in higher education. They will also explore the mutual exchange of assessment experiences in both countries concerning research and academic systems. The two Governments also appreciate the work started by the Bilateral Academic Steering Committee in order to support and to coordinate the already numerous exchanges between Higher Education Institutions of both Countries. The Governments will explore avenues to promote initiatives in the field of elearning which will advance opportunities for cooperation at all educational levels.
  • 7. The two Governments are also satisfied with the teaching at academic level of the language, the history and the culture of the other country. Culture: Italy and Israel confirm their willingness to reinforce the longstanding tradition of cooperation in the field of culture, recognizing the richness of their common cultural values and of shared historic legacy and acknowledging the strong interest of their Peoples in the culture of the other Country, as expressed by the Cultural Agreement between the two countries and by its program renewed in 2012. In this context, and in the framework of the said cultural agreement, they signed an Agreement of Cooperation in Cinema Co-production which aims at development film production and encourage the further development of the cultural and technological ties between the two countries. Furthermore, Italy and Israel underline the importance they attach to the bilateral collaboration in the protection of cultural heritage, as well as in the field of performing arts. In this context, the two countries express satisfaction for the fruitful activity carried out by the Italy Israel Foundation for Culture and the Arts. They are also proud to announce that 2014 will be the year of the Israeli Italian cultural friendship and cultural events will take place to celebrate this event, notably in the city of Turin. Internal Security and Home Front Affairs: Recognizing the common challenges they face, the Governments decided to strengthen their bilateral cooperation in the internal security field . In light of
  • 8. their shared interest to cooperate to protect their peoples, goods and interests from threats by countering crime, they signed an Agreement on Public security. The two Governments, aiming at prevent and suppress crime in its various forms and to counter transnational organized crime, agreed to cooperate in the fight against illegal migration, human trafficking, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs. They aim to prevent and suppress crime in its various forms and to counter transnational organized crime. To this aim, the Government of Italy and Israel will also consult in defining legislative and scientific tools to combat crime. The two Governments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on civil protection, as they acknowledge that the cooperation in this field is crucial to the people’s safety from contemporary threats and that providing an effective disaster response can limit or mitigate damage to the population, property and environment. The Agreement has the scope to achieve common goals in forecasting, prevention, mitigation and contrast to natural or man-made disasters, occurred in the state territory of one of the Parties. Trade and Economic Cooperation: Based on the solid foundation of actively pursued pragmatic cooperation in the field of trade and economic development, the bilateral relations between the Italian Republic and the State of Israel have reached an advanced stage of long-term strategic partnership at many levels.
  • 9. Both Governments welcome the recent increase in the high tech relations and start-up companies networking exchange that has brought to many events both in Italy and Israel in the course of 2013. At the margins of the Governmental consultations, the co-chairs of the High Tech-Start Up Committee announced the new work plan for 2014 and meetings between high tech companies of both countries in the field of embedded software was held in Milan between companies in the IT and IT Security sectors. During the B2B meetings they will meet with the leading Italian companies in this area. Cooperation in cyber space: The Governments of Italy and Israel acknowledge that today's economies and infrastructures are heavily reliant on digital technologies and communication, that this reliance is beneficial to the human and economic development of their peoples and that it is set to increase with the advent of new technologies. Both Governments recognize the critical role of information and communication systems in the development of their open and democratic societies and economies, and they acknowledge the expanding range of threats posed to this domain by state, non-state actors and individuals. Protection of information in the digital age against theft and misuse is one of the main challenges faced by Nations, industries and individuals. The two Governments appreciate that the protection of cyber space, fostered by robust research and development efforts by both the academic world and private actors, creates a rapidly expanding market for expertise, products and services, that the two Countries can best leverage by maximizing their joint efforts and interactions.
  • 10. Therefore, in light of the global nature of challenges to cyber space and of the economic opportunities emerging in this sector, the two Governments signed a Joint Declaration aimed at deepening and expanding their mutual knowledge and understanding of cyber threats and related issues. To this aim, both Governments intend to foster cooperation among their industrial, business and academic communities with a view to benefiting from the economic opportunities arising from the protection of cyber space. Italy and Israel will therefore strive to enhance the current dialogue in order to commonly assess future trends and challenges of cyber space, promoting cooperation and exchanges between their business communities, entrepreneurs, experts and academic research institutions Science and Technology: The two Governments agree on the importance of further promoting scientific and technologic cooperation between the countries. The parties will encourage further direct contacts and exchanges between scientific institutions in both countries in the framework of their bilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of Science and Technology, also building up on existing successful experiences of joint laboratories. They welcome the recent selection of 14 industrial R&D projects and 10 R&D academic projects jointly proposed by Israeli and Italian business, research and academic entities that will be co-funded by the two Governments. The Governments note with satisfaction the next publication of two calls for proposals during early 2014, in both Italy and Israel for new joint industrial R&D and academic projects. The Governments have agreed to continue the
  • 11. bilateral exchange in the field of R&D and professional training, particularly in the areas with strong potential for innovation and modern applied technologies, such cooperation in cyberspace. The Governments continue to support the excellent cooperation in the field of Space between the two respective Space Agencies and industries, especially in the earth observation domain. It is noted with satisfaction that the new Joint Research Programs were implemented under the supervision of the Space Agencies and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Energy and Water: The two governments signed a Joint declaration on cooperation in the fields of energy and water with the aim to further strengthen their economic relations and to create a privileged partnership. The two large water companies Acea and Mekorot signed an MOU for cooperation between them both bilaterally as well as internationally. They establish a framework that will enable them to share experiences for the development of energy and water resources in coordination with other frameworks established with other partners of the region. They will further examine ways to enhance the relations between the respective water utilities and industries for the exchange of cutting edge technologies in the field of water management and desalination. In particular, Italy and Israel will strive to support research and industry to favor the transportation of natural gas towards the European Union where Italy is ready to play its part as a bridge for gas transportation towards the EU.
  • 12. The two Governments note with satisfaction the mission of an Interministerial Israeli Delegation in the sector of compressed natural gas for transportation that took place in Italy from 25 to 28 November 2013 which underlined the longstanding Italian experience in this sector and where there is scope for future bilateral cooperation. The two Governments will act to further enhance innovation in the alternative fuel in transportation. Health: The relationship between Israel and Italy in the healthcare is particularly intense and characterized by several concrete and useful initiatives both at Governmental and at a local level, such as the renewal of the Plan of Action between the two Ministries of Health; collaboration between the Gemelli Hospital in Rome, the Israeli Center for Simulation Medicine and the Rambam Hospital in Haifa; cooperation between Schools of Medicine of the Politecnico di Torino, the University of Torino and the Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology; Cooperation between the Ministry of Health of the State of Israel and the Abruzzo Region; establishment of PENTA joint Laboratory between the Istituto Superiore di Sanità and Ben Gurion University of Negev. Expo 2015 in Milan: The Government of Israel presented a preview of the Israeli pavilion to the World Expo 2015 in Milan. Italy and Israel confirmed they common interest in making EXPO 2015 a success. The theme of Expo 2015 “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is at the core of the partnership between Israel and Italy and it is consistent with the two countries’ expertise, also in the context
  • 13. of their shared commitment to the fulfillment of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Conclusion: The Prime Ministers reiterate the key importance they attribute to the ties between the two Governments and they agree to conduct the next round of intergovernmental consultations in Jerusalem during the course of 2014. __________________ H.E. Enrico Letta __________________ H.E. Benjamin Netanyahu President of the Council of the Italian Republic Prime Minister of the State of Israel