Niger 'strategic' for Italy - Alfano says, opens embassy

Friendship getting closer says after meeting Yacoubou

(ANSA) - Rome, January 3 - Niger is a "strategic ally" of Italy's in Africa, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said after meeting his counterpart Ibrahim Yacoubou in Niamey Wednesday, the Italian foreign ministry said. "The friendship between our countries is becoming closer," Alfano said. Niger is the first stage of a three-country trip that will also take in Senegal and Guinea.
    Earlier Alfano tweeted: "just landed in #Niger for African mission, which will also take me to #Senegal and #Guinea. Focus on Italian priorities: security, migrant flows and partnership for development".
    Alfano went on to inaugurate the Italian embassy in Niamey, Italy's first in the whole of the Sahel region.
    "Here we have invested in cooperation and security and we have reaped the fruits," he said.
    New Ambassador Marco Prencipe was appointed and took on his duties at the start of 2017.