ROME, March 8 (Itar-Tass) – Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti has expressed the hope for an early meeting with members of Russian political leadership.
According to a report by the prime-ministerial press service, Monti said in a letter of congratulations addressed to Russia’s President-Elect Vladimir Putin.
Monti proposed to hold talks between the two nations’ foreign and defense minister in the Two Plus Two format first so that the sides could have a look at the most pressing issues of the international agenda, including the problem of European security.
He also voiced the hope that Russia will continue developing economic relations with Italy and with the European Union in general and stressed the strategic role of partnership with Russia in the long term.
Political analysts recall in this connection that Russia and Italy have a tradition of holding inter-governmental consultations once a year.
These consultations often provide the scene for signing key inter-state agreements in all spheres of cooperation from industries to scientific innovations to culture and education.
Italy’s domestic political events that resulted in a change of the cabinet of ministers made it impossible to hold a regular round of consultations that was scheduled for the end of last year.
The previous time that Russia’s outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev visited Rome was on June 2, 2011, when he was an honorary guest at the festivities dedicated to the 150th anniversary since Italy’s reunification.
Last year, the two countries held the first-ever reciprocal years of Russian culture in Italy and Italian culture in Russia. Their program featured exchanges of grandiose exhibitions and concert tours of leading performing groups.