Italy’s Draghi thanks Japan for redirecting gas cargoes to Europe

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrive to deliver a joint statement to the media as they meet at Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, May 4, 2022.

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi thanked Japan on Wednesday for swiftly agreeing to redirect liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes destined for third countries to Europe.

Europe, which sources about 40% of its gas imports from Russia, has been scrambling to diversify its energy supply mix as the conflict in Ukraine escalates.

The European Commission this month is expected to unveil plans to help try to end Europe’s reliance on Russian energy, expanding renewable energy faster and replacing Russian gas with alternative supplies.

Speaking after a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Rome, Draghi said the two countries condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and were committed to reaching a truce — even local ones to evacuate citizens — and favouring peace negotiations with Russia.

“We continue to help Ukraine and put pressure on Russia to cease hostilities immediately,” Draghi said.

Kishida said he had agreed with Draghi it was important “for the international community including the G7 to respond resolutely to this invasion” and that it was the duty of both Japan and Italy “to do our utmost to support the Ukrainian government and its people”.

The leaders also expressed concern for the missile tests by North Korea.

“As shown by today’s missile launch by North Korea, the degree of tension in East Asia is rising,” Kishida said.