ROME, January 24. /TASS/. Italy and the European Union in general cannot continue to be held hostage to the anti-Russia sanctions, introduced at the behest of a country now inclined to solve the matter peacefully with Russia (the US), Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said in an interview with La Stampa.
"We can’t carry on with this paradoxical situation when a country that was the most insistent on sanctions being imposed against Russia, that is, the United States, now plans to come to terms [with Russia] while those who have paid the highest price for the sanctions, meaning the EU and Italy in particular, remain hostages to it. On behalf of Europe, we should suggest that [US President] Donald Trump make a joint decision," Alfano said.
He added that "the reinstatement of sanctions cannot be automatic, it is not a goal in itself, but a tool used to exert pressure [on Russia] so that the Minsk agreements [on settling the Ukrainian crisis] would be implemented."
Over the past months, Italy has been insisting that relations between the EU and Russia need to be revised. Italian authorities have been pushing for abandoning the automatic extension of sanctions against Russia as well as setting up a political discussion of this issue among EU member states.
In addition, being a country currently presiding over the G7 group, Italy has been mulling over the possibility of inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to the G7 summit in Taormina scheduled for late May that would result in reviving the G8 format. This is illustrated by numerous media reports citing informed sources and hints from the country’s authorities. Angelino Alfano himself has repeatedly said that dialogue with Russia on key global issues is necessary while the summit of the leading world powers is the perfect venue for that.