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Italy seeks to reverse anti-Russian sanctions, return to G8 format — top diplomat

February 17, 3:33 UTC+3 BONN

"Anyway, only an unwise man would insist on keeping the chill in relations between the US and Russia, Russia and the EU," the foreign minister said

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BONN, February 16. /TASS/. Italy is seeking to reverse anti-Russian sanctions and return to the G8 format of relations with Moscow, the country’s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said.

"We hope that, having overturned the sanctions regime, we will be able to return to the G8 format. This is the goal, and work is being carried out to achieve it," he said on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting in Bonn, Germany.

"Anyway, only an unwise man would insist on keeping the chill in relations between the US and Russia, Russia and the EU," the minister added.

Alfano said he would meet with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the G20 summit Friday to discuss relations with Russia.

"It was said with too much ease that the new US administration will turn the page of sanctions. There were too many hasty judgements about the new president’s foreign policy. During the meeting with Tillerson I will try to understand the approach to these issues," he told journalists.

"Italy will stick to its position that the sanctions cannot remain forever, cannot be extended automatically and are not the goal, but just an instrument," he added. "Eventually, they should be lifted with the implementation of the Minsk agreements, when both sides fulfill their obligations."

Alfano is also expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Friday.

This year’s G7 summit will be held under Italy’s presidency in Taormina, Sicily, on May 26-27. Leading public figures, including former prime minister Romano Prodi, have called for Russia to be invited to the summit as well. Alfano earlier said that Russia’s participation was possible.

However, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said during his recent visit to London that despite his country’s determination to improve ties with Moscow, Russia’s participation in the summit "does not seem realistic at the moment.".

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