Italian premier makes 'historic' visit to Turkmenistan

(AGI) Ashgabat, Nov 17 - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renziwill visit Turkmenistan on Tuesday, in what is a "historic"visit, Italy's ambassador to the country, Marco Mancini, toldAGI. Mr Renzi, who will visit on his way back from Australia,will be the first Western government leader to visit theCentral Asian country. "The last time we had a visit from aWestern statesman goes back to the era of Francois Mitterand,to give some idea of how important this visit is," said MrMancini. He took office in October, less than a year after theembassy was opened

(AGI) Ashgabat, Nov 17 - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renziwill visit Turkmenistan on Tuesday, in what is a "historic"visit, Italy's ambassador to the country, Marco Mancini, toldAGI. Mr Renzi, who will visit on his way back from Australia,will be the first Western government leader to visit theCentral Asian country. "The last time we had a visit from aWestern statesman goes back to the era of Francois Mitterand,to give some idea of how important this visit is," said MrMancini. He took office in October, less than a year after theembassy was opened in the capital of Ashgabat. "It is atechnical, not an official visit, but with a double value: MrRenzi will be the first Western head of government to comehere, and Italy currently holds the EU presidency." The visit,he said, "shows that Italy is eager to start a more structuredand high-level dialogue with this country". Rome establisheddiplomatic relations with Ashgabat in 1991, immediately afterTurkmenistan proclaimed independence from the former SovietUnion, but never opened an embassy. "The situation had maturedto a point where we could justify the opening. We hope thevisit by Premier Renzi will lead to Turkmenistan opening anembassy in Rome in the near future. People are already talkingabout it and the conditions are right," said the ambassador. .