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ROME, July 22 (Itar-Tass) —— The relations between Russia and Italy are of strategic character in all spheres, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta and the Russia-24 television channel on the eve of his first visit to Russia, where he is expected to have negotiations with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
“The strategic partnership between our countries is focused first of all in the political field via the instruments like intergovernmental consultations, which allow a wide exchange and communication between leaders of our countries and ministers of various profile, or meetings in the two-plus-two format between ministers of foreign affairs and of defence. During these negotiations we discuss most important issues of security and bilateral cooperation, including in defence and defence industry,” Monti said.
He stressed importance of economic partnership, which, he said, is expressed in “mutual dependence and complementarity of our economies.” The prime minister is sure the coopearion is not limited exclusively by import of natural resources, though Italy is second largest consumer of the Russian natural gas. He spoke about active cooperation between ENI and ENEL energy companies in Russia and about their input in implementation of major projects, like the South Stream.
Strategic is also the cultural component of the bilateral relations, as “it comes from common Christian and European backgrounds of our countries’ history, from mutual sympathy and attraction between our peoples and from the long history of cultural exchanges, which have been going on for several centuries,” the prime minister said.
Mario Monti sees his objective in continuing the policy aimed at stronger economic partnership and a dialogue between the societies, which had been developing very actively.
“High-level meetings with President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev demonstrate our mutual aspiration for deeper political dialogue and cooperation in all spheres,” he concluded.