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Putin to meet with visiting Italian prime minister in Sochi on Monday

July 22, 2012, 19:09 UTC+3

It is also planned that Putin and Monti will discuss the situation in North Africa and the Middle East, primarily in Syria

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SOCHI, July 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Monday, the Kremlin press service reported on Sunday.

“The upcoming talks will allow both parties to synchronize positions on key bilateral and international issues and to outline new areas of cooperation,” the press service said.

According to the press service, Russia and Italy have traditionally had a constructive foreign policy dialogue. “The sides will discuss cooperation in such formats as the United Nations, the Group of Eight, the Group of Twenty, Russia-NATO, and Russia-European Union,” the Kremlin representative noted. “Key topics include measures to overcome the global financial and economic crisis, including in the Euro-zone, such important issues as a visa-free regime between Russia and the European Union, a new basic agreement and ways to settle problems within the framework of energy dialogue.”

It is also planned that Putin and Monti will discuss the situation in North Africa and the Middle East, primarily in Syria, the press service added.

As concerns cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, it is planned to discuss preparations for the eighth round of Russian-Italian extended interstate top-level consultations involving ministers of both countries.

The sides are expected to discuss the implementation of major bilateral agreements in the fuel and energy sector, including such promising joint projects as the construction of a new gas transportation network from Russia to the south of Europe via the Black Sea, or the South Stream. Russia’s Gazprom and Italy’s ENI are expected to take a final investment decision on the project’s sea section in November and begin construction works in December. Apart from that, Russia’s Rosneft and ENI plan to cooperate in joint development of shelf fields in the Black and Barents Seas, and in electricity projects.

According to the Kremlin press service, a number of commercial agreements between Russian and Italian companies and financial institutions will be signed within the framework of Monti’s visit to Russia. These documents include an agreement between Gazprom and ENI on funding prospecting works at the Central Barents, Fedynsky and West Black Sea shelf sectors, a memorandumof understanding between Russia’s Norilsk Nickel and Italy’s Tekint, a strategic partnership agreement between Postal Service of Russia and Italy’s Selex Elsag and the Italian Postal Service, a Bank VTB loan agreement to a sum of 276 million euro against a guarantee from the Italian export credit agency SACE, and agreement between Russia’ Gazprombank and Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo on the establishment of a direct investment fund, a protocol of intent between Russia’s Resorts of North Caucasus and Italy’s Rizzani De Eccher.

“Russia and Italy have a unique history-rooted experience in the areas of cultural and humanitarian cooperation,” the Kremlin press service noted. In June, a series of commemorative events dedicated to Russian seamen who took part in the clear-up operations after the 1908 devastating earthquake in the Strait of Messina were held on the island of Sicily and in Calabria province.

In 2011, the Year of Russian Culture and the Russian Language was held in Italy, and the Year of Italian Culture and the Italian Language – in Russia. In all, about 500 various events were held in their frameworks.

From September, a series of exhibitions dedicated to Italian culture, architecture, design and new technologies will be held in Moscow.

During his stay in Russia, the Italian prime minister also plans to meet with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

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