MOSCOW, August 5 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Foreign Minister and Defence Minister, Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu, on Monday are departing for Rome where they will hold a meeting on August 6 with their Italian colleagues Emma Bonino and Mario Mauro in the “two plus two” format. On the same day, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta will receive the talks’ participants. Separate talks between the two states’ foreign and defence ministers are also on the program.
“During the meeting the four ministers will hold an extensive exchange of views on key international agenda issues, outline the main cooperation objectives between Russia and Italy in the foreign policy and military spheres,” the Russian Foreign Ministry informed. In particular, the sides will consider prospects for interaction in the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), discuss the disarmament and non-proliferation issues and missile defence problems. “Special attention is planned to be given to regional issues - the situation in Syria, Afghanistan and Northern Africa, the Middle East peace process,” the ministry said.
The foreign ministers in a separate meeting will consider the schedule of upcoming contacts at the summit and high levels. Among international issues on the agenda are Russia-EU relations, the Iranian nuclear program, the reform of the UN Security Council, cooperation within the framework of the Group of Twenty and the Group of Eight in view of Russia’s presidency in these forums in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
The defence ministers will give high priority to the development of bilateral military-technical cooperation.
It will be the third Russian-Italian meeting in the “two plus two” format. “Its goal is to ensure continuity in the bilateral political dialogue, promote the strengthening of strategic partnership,” the RF Foreign Ministry stressed.
The first meeting in this format was held in Rome in May 2010, the second - in Moscow in April 2012.
Russia has established the mechanism of joint consultations of the foreign and defence ministers in the “two plus two” format not only with Italy. The country holds similar meetings with France, Britain and the United States.