STATEMENT TO THE PRESS BY PRESIDENT TONY TAN AT THE PALAZZO DEL QUIRINALE, ROME ON 23 MAY 2016

Thank you President Mattarella for your kind words and warm welcome.

I am honoured to be in Italy on a State Visit – the first ever by a Singapore President.  I would like to express my appreciation to President Mattarella for the hospitality given to my delegation and me, and for the thoughtful arrangements made for my visit. 

President Mattarella and I earlier reaffirmed the strong bilateral relations between Italy and Singapore across a broad range of areas.  These include our excellent ties in the political, economic and cultural spheres.

We discussed how we could build upon and strengthen our existing collaboration in areas including scientific research, educational exchanges and defence cooperation. We agreed that there was much scope for us to explore cooperation in new areas including trade and investment for the mutual benefit of both Italy and Singapore.

In this regard, we were very pleased that Italy and Singapore will be signing several agreements to formalise our cooperation during this State Visit.

I also welcomed Italian leaders, officials and businessmen to make more visits to Singapore.  Singapore is located in the heart of Southeast Asia - a region of great economic potential.  I briefed President Mattarella on the developments in Southeast Asia and the newly formed ASEAN Economic Community.  I welcomed Italian businesses to use Singapore as the regional hub to expand their business in the region.

President Mattarella and I discussed developments in Europe and Asia.

Singapore watches developments in Europe closely and Italy is a valuable partner to help us understand developments in the region better.  Likewise, Singapore stands ready to share our views with Italy on developments in our part of the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to also welcome His Excellency President Mattarella to make a visit to Singapore and allow me to reciprocate the warm hospitality we have received during our visit to Italy.

Thank you very much.