MOSCOW, March 27. /TASS/. Moscow appreciates Rome’s interest in developing bilateral cooperation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said opening talks with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on Monday.
"We value the interest of our Italian partners in developing cooperation," Lavrov said. "We appreciate that Italy has a special place in the system of foreign policy ties relying on successful experience in different areas."
Despite the Western sanctions against Moscow over events in Ukraine, Russia and Italy have been actively developing political dialogue, Lavrov noted. "We discussed many issues on February 17 in Bonn in the framework of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting."
"Today’s visit is held for a more substantive discussion on bilateral and international affairs, taking into account that Italy is now a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council," Russia’s top diplomat said.
Russia and Italy have been taking part in the activity of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe and in the formats created to settle the crises in Syria and Libya, he said.
"No matter what, we managed to keep excellent bilateral relations," Alfano said. "At all times, we managed to preserve good relations, the relations of peace and friendship."
"The first agreements between our countries in the energy sector were signed in a difficult time," the Italian foreign minister said. "All this contributed to enhancing mutual trust that our countries have now."
Now Moscow and Rome will have to solve the new issues, Alfano said. "First, these are issues about new challenges that we are facing."