The Minister of Energy and Industry H E Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada and Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta during a press conference at Four Seasons Hotel yesterday. (Shaival Dalal)
BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: Qatar is planning to make huge investments in various sectors of cash-strapped Italian economy, including energy, healthcare and tourism. This was announced by the visiting Prime Minister of Italy, Enrico Letta, at a joint press conference with H E Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada, the Minister of Energy and Industry, here yesterday.
The current investment plans include building of a Museum of Islamic Art in Venice and a hospital in Olbia, in northeastern Sardinia (Italy). However, the size of investments was not disclosed.
“We held a very successful meeting with the Emir, H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani this morning”, said the Italian premier. “We discussed host of important issues of mutual interests, including industrial investments in Italy and the current political scenarios in Iran, Syria, Libya and Egypt.”
The Prime Minister confirmed the discussion with Qatar about the possibility of investing in state-backed oil firm Eni SpA (ENI), as the Eurozone’s third largest economy is striving to cut severing debt by selling state assets.
Dr Al Sada also said that the meeting was “very successful”, and Qatar is looking forward to inject capital to the Rome-based energy company, in which Italy owns the biggest stake.
He termed the meeting as “very important milestone” in the bilateral economic relations between the two “friendly” countries.
“The doors for mutual cooperation are widely open. Qatari side has shown great interests for investing in various sectors of the Italian economy”, said Al Sada.
He also said Qatar is open to tie-ups with energy and construction companies, and a team from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) will visit to Italy to discuss investment opportunities with relevant partners.
The Energy Minister called the bilateral relations as “excellent, historic and of great importance” based on solid foundations of mutual benefits.
He said that Qatar has consolidated its relationships with Italy through continued LNG supply, under the 25-year long term contract, and it is further open to supply more gas as and when needed in future.
Al Sada also highlighted the various areas of cooperation that Qatar is looking for, including the aviation sector. “With the successful operation of Qatar Airways to the European nation, Qatar is now looking forward to get more access for cargo operations to Italy.”
Letta added that there are great investment opportunities for Italian companies in Qatar, which are well positioned to play a significant role in hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
“I am very happy with the discussions that we had in the meeting with His Highness about the possible cooperation to host the football championship in 2022. Italian companies can play important role in establishing logistics and infrastructure facilities.”