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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti met in Sochi on Monday. They discussed economic problems and the Syrian crisis. Meanwhile, Rosneft and Eni signed a financial agreement, which envisages the development of the previously signed agreements to explore the Black Sea and the Barents Sea.
Mario Monti, who replaced Putin’s friend Silvio Berlusconi at the post of the Italian prime minister, confirmed that Russia remains among the closest allies of the country, the RBC daily reported. Despite the debt crisis of the euro zone Vladimir Putin pledged not to reduce the share of the gold and currency reserves, which Russia keeps in euros (40% of all gold and currency reserves).
Putin said it straightforwardly that Russia hopes for Italy’s mediation to facilitate the visa regime with Europe and sign a new basic agreement with the European Union. “We call for the free movement of ideas and people,” the Italian premier confirmed.
Vladimir Putin did not concern about the future of the South Stream gas project, the newspaper noted. “During the crisis the gas consumption goes down, but good times come after hard times. The upsurge follows all crises,” the Russian president noted in the philosophical manner. “I believe that the project will be implemented,” he noted. “I support each word of Mr. Putin,” the Italian prime minister stated and confirmed that Italy will not step aside from Berlusconi’s friendly policy towards Russia.
Putin voiced the plan of the conflict settlement in Syria during the negotiations with Monti, the Izvestia daily noted. Putin reiterated that the violence in the country should be stopped, all parties to the conflict should get down to the negotiating table. “I would like to formulate our position in simple words. We do not want the situation to develop on the scenario of the civil war. We would like all groups to come to terms. We are concerned that if the incumbent Syrian authorities are ousted from power in the unconstitutional way, the opposition and the authorities may change places. The opposition will become power, and vice versa, and then the civil war will last for a long time,” Putin said.
Putin’s plan of a peaceful settlement of the crisis was the following: stop violence, negotiations, the search for a peaceful solution, the determination of the constitutional foundations of a new country and structural decisions.
Syria’s future should depend not from who will win or lose in the military conflict, it should be determined in a compromise, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily laid down the position of the Russian president. The agreement to extend the observer mission points that compromises can be found on the UN floors. Mario Monti stated that he realizes Russian concerns, but it should be understood that there is a risk that if the United Nations does not approve a relevant resolution, the situation may go out of control. The provisional government would be a good variant, but Russia’s support is needed, he said.