KYIV, Feb 7 – Ukraine and Italy will seek to accelerate trade and economic cooperation within the next few years as pace of reforms accelerates, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Friday.
Zelenskiy traveled to Rome for a meeting with the Italy’s leadership to secure economic and political support as Ukraine tries to deescalate military confrontation with Moscow-backed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Italian businesses should start considering Ukraine as destination for their investments to capture economic opportunities, Zelenskiy told Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the meeting.
"Italy is in the top three of Ukraine's major economic partners in the EU and one of the main trading partners in the world,” Zelenskiy said. “Last year's trade volume exceeded $4 billion. I am sure that we can improve this result and thus strengthen our friendship."
He also highlighted the great potential for bringing the cooperation between Ukraine and Italy to a new level.
"The positive changes that are taking place in our country create additional opportunities for increasing cooperation between Ukraine and Italy," Zelenskiy said.
Italian investors should be actively involved in the large-scale privatization in Ukraine, he said, adding that development of infrastructure and energy projects opens great opportunities for growth.
"Our government works to simplify economic and business processes. This year we have big plans for the construction of roads, bridges, development of seaports and airports. We will be happy to see Italian investors in Ukraine and will do everything to ensure the security of their investments. Let's build together in Ukraine and create jobs," the president said.
Zelenskiy thanked Conte for Italy's unwavering support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. For his part, the prime minister of Italy expressed full support for the reforms in Ukraine.
The sides touched upon the issue of strengthening cultural ties and developing scientific and technical cooperation, especially in the space field.
Zelenskiy and Conte also agreed on the schedule of the high-level contacts for 2020 and discussed preparations for the visit of the Italian prime minister to Ukraine. (om/ez)