MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to meet with former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on June 10 during his visit to Italy, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov has told reporters.
"Such a possibility [Putin’s meeting with Berlusconi] is being currently discussed. It is not ruled out that this meeting will be held in Rome," the presidential aide said.
The timeframe has not yet been coordinated, but the meeting is expected to take place on Wednesday afternoon after the Russian leader’s conversation with Pope Francis, Ushakov said.
"We are now discussing the time parameters," he said.
Putin and Berlusconi held an active dialogue when the Italian politician led the country’s government. After Berlusconi’s resignation, the leaders continue maintaining friendly relations.
In an interview with Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera ahead of his visit to Milan, Putin said he finds it easy to have friendly relations with Italy’s former Prime Ministers Silvio Berlusconi and Romano Prodi because they have always been guided by the interests of their country.
"No matter what posts we occupy or what our jobs are, we are still human, and personal trust is certainly a very important factor in our work, in building relations on the interstate level," Putin said.
He said it was not difficult for him to maintain friendly relations with the two former prime ministers. "I still don’t find it difficult, and I can tell you why. My Italian partners have always put the interests of Italy, of the Italian people, first and believed that in order to serve the interests of their country, including economic and political interests, they must maintain friendly relations with Russia," he said. "We have always understood and felt that."
"This has been the key element underlying our good relations. I have always sensed a truly sincere interest in building interstate relations irrespective of the domestic political situation," he said.