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MOSCOW, June 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino will hold talks in Moscow on Saturday to discuss preparations for the Geneva conference on Syria and the G8 summit meeting. This is going to be Bonino’s first visit to Russia in the capacity of Italy’s foreign minister.
“Central to the negotiations will be the set of problems related to the situation inside and around Syria with the emphasis on preparations for an international conference Russia and the United States have initiated with the aim to overcome the crisis in that country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Earlier, Italy’s ambassador to Moscow, Antonio Zanardi Landi, said the situation in Syria was an issue of great interest and concern to the government of Italy and to the whole of Europe.
“Moscow plays an important role in preparations for the Geneva-2 conference. Foreign Minister Emma Bonino has already come out in support for actions by Russia and the United States,” the diplomat said.
On the agenda of negotiations are crucial issues related with the G8 summit in Britain on June 17-18 and the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on September 5-6. The parties will analyze prospects for cooperation by Russia, NATO and the European Union in the light of the results of the Russia-EU summit, which was held in Yekaterinburg, as well as Italy’s forthcoming presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2014.
“Bilateral trading and economic cooperation will be on the agenda, too,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Among the high-priority tasks in that field will be ways of maintaining stable positive dynamics in bilateral trade, which reached 45.84 billion dollars in 2012.”
Italy firmly holds the position of one of Russia’s largest trading and economic partners in Europe.
Lavrov and Bonino will touch upon bilateral cultural and humanitarian cooperation, in particular, preparations for holding Russian Tourism Year in Italy and Italian Tourism Year in Russia in 2013-2014.