MOSCOW, October 14 /TASS/. Italy’s Northern League party is ready to develop contacts with Russian politicians despite harsh criticism at home, the party’s deputy secretary, Matteo Salvini, said on Tuesday.
The Northern League’s leader has been staying in Russia since last Friday as the head of a delegation in a sign of the party's opposition to Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. The Northern League was the only party to openly vote against the anti-Russian sanctions in Brussels. It came under harsh criticism in Italian media for its move.
“But that is not frightening us at all. On the contrary, we believe that we should develop relations not only between the states but also among political parties that think alike as well as among regional authorities who hold similar views on things,” Salvini said at a meeting with the leaders of the United Russia parliamentary faction at the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament.
The Italian politician spoke highly of the Russian-Italian friendship on the whole, about cultural contacts and close economic ties which the Northern League and the United Russia party were set to develop. He added the Northern League would like to develop relations with the United Russia party at all levels, including youth and sport exchanges.
State Duma Vice-Speaker Vladimir Vasilyev, who is the parliamentary majority leader at the Duma, said in turn that Russia appreciated the Northern League’s objective stance.
“We understand very well that it is not easy to do that in contemporary Europe,” Vasilyev said, adding that meetings like the one held on Tuesday were “extremely important."