Milan Expo 2015 "priority" for new Italian gov't: PM

2013-05-06 16:12:34 GMT2013-05-07 00:12:34(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MILAN, Italy, May 6 (Xinhua) -- The Milan Expo 2015 is a "real priority" on the new Italian government's agenda, Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference in the Italian business capital, Letta said that the world exposition "represents one of the qualifying elements" on the basis of which "the success of this government will be evaluated."

Key ministers including Infrastructure Minister Maurizio Lupi, Culture and Tourism Minister Massimo Bray and Agriculture Minister Nunzia De Girolamo took part in the news conference along with Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia and local authorities, showing the importance that the one-week-old cabinet attaches to the event, Letta noted.

725 days before Expo's kick off on May 1, 2015, a total of 128 countries have confirmed their presence and by the end of this year they should be handed over the single lots.

Also on Monday, Letta announced the decision to make Expo's CEO Giuseppe Sala the "sole commissioner" of the six-month-long event.

Letta said the Milan Expo will focus on environmental issues and fighting hunger as it is centered on the theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life." The Expo will act as a hub for the country's economic recovery as well as a flywheel for international relations.

In particular, the Expo will be a fundamental platform for strengthening relations with China, a very significant country for the event, Letta told Xinhua.

"The relationship with China will be one of the keys to the Expo's success, both because China was our predecessor with the Shanghai Expo and because China is obviously important for the work that we will carry out together," the Italian prime minister highlighted.

China's pavilion will stretch 4,590 square meters and will be in a strategic position of the site, while China Vanke Co, a global leader in real estate industry, is the first corporate participant with its own 959-square-meter pavilion.

One of the main objectives of the Milan Expo's "China Special Project" aimed at strengthening bilateral dialogue is to attract 1 million Chinese visitors to the world exhibition.

"There is a new leadership in China, and I am sure that we will collaborate fruitfully," Letta said. "As soon as there will be the opportunity to do so, I will work to identify ways and forms to make bilateral exchange even stronger," he added.

"I am counting on building a very special and particular relation with China, during the Milan Expo but naturally also at a later stage," said the 46-year-old, who was sworn in on April 28 breaking a two-month political deadlock.

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