MILAN, October 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived from Belgrade in Milan to attend a summit of the Europe-Asia Meeting (ASEM) forum, on the sideline of which he is to meet with a number of foreign leaders, including his Ukrainian counterpart.
Thus, Putin is to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Putin’s aide, Yuri Ushakov, said that the two leaders were expected to exchange views on bilateral relations with a special focus on the situation in Ukraine. They will discuss the implementation of the Minsk agreements on ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, on ensuring uninterrupted Russian gas transit to Europe in the coming winter. The German chancellor confirmed that the agenda would include a range of issues related to Ukraine, such as gas supplies and observance of the Minsk agreements.
Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told TASS that due to changes in the schedule the meeting had been postponed. He said he hoped the time would be agreed by the end of the day.
Later on Thursday, ASEM leaders will have a dinner on behalf of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. After the dinner, Putin is expected to meet with the Italian president.
The ASEM forum will open on Friday morning. The summit has been convened every two years since 1996 as a forum for dialogue and co-operation between nations of Europe and Asia. This year’s summit is going to be a record-breaker in terms of participating heads of state and government - 51. It is expected that along issues of economic recession, efforts against traditional and new threats, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, participants will address the problem of Ukraine. That country, which is not an ASEM member, will be represented by President Petr Poroshenko.
On Friday morning, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will give a breakfast for Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Francois Hollande of France, Petr Poroshenko of Ukraine, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They might be joined by British Prime Minister David Cameron, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherinin, who will take over the post of the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Apart from that, Putin plans to have bilateral meetings with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann.