Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz will begin a state visit to Italy tomorrow. It is the second leg of a tour that began with a visit to Britain and will also include Germany and Turkey.
Saudi-Italian relations date back to 1932, when Italy opened a consulate in Jeddah. Today, Italy is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partners. In 2006, Saudi imports from Italy totaled $2.6 billion, while its exports reached $5.3 billion. In addition, a large number of Saudi students are pursuing academic studies in Italy.
King Abdullah last visited Italy in 1999 as Crown Prince. In April 2007, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi visited Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah about the Middle East peace process, the situation in Iraq and bilateral cooperation.