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MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Russia hopes that Rome will build relations with Moscow proceeding from its own interests because Washington that initiated the anti-Russian course does not sustain losses itself, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
"The sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union, which Italy joined, and Russia’s reciprocal steps had a negative effect on bilateral trade and economic cooperation," Lavrov said. "The situation in this sphere still remains very complicated and arises serious concern on both sides. The illustrative indicator is the considerable decline in the trade turnover. Last year it declined by 36.2% to $30.6 billion, and in the first nine months of this year — by 41.2% to $14.2 billion," he added.
"Italy is currently Russia’s sixth largest economic partner, though it maintained the fourth place for a long time. It is noteworthy that US rose to the fifth place," the foreign minister said. "Thus, Washington, which became the initiator of the considerable part of anti-Russian settings, does not sustain losses itself. Here is food for thought for our Italian and in general our EU partners," he noted.
Moscow sees that political, business and public circles in Italy "are becoming more and more active in voicing their discontent with the sanctions policy, call for returning the bilateral relations to the trajectory of growth," Lavrov said. "We know that sentiment toward unblocking trade and economic ties with Russia are strong and that Italian regions, several Italian regions, adopted resolutions calling for lifting anti-Russian sanctions," he reminded.
Russia hopes that "Rome will build relations with Moscow proceeding first of all from its own interests," he went on. "The whole rich history of Russian-Italian ties that rely on years-long experience of fruitful cooperation is an example of how we managed to achieve considerable results by joint efforts," Lavrov said.
Special place in the area of maintaining trust and mutual understanding between the countries belongs to dialogue at the highest level. "During talks on the sidelines of the 20th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi discussed prospects for activating Russian-Italian cooperation in key spheres," Lavrov concluded.