SOCHI, May 17. /TASS/. Italy supports an open Russia-EU dialogue, which should not be disrupted over the crisis in Ukraine, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
"I believe we manage to continue working together," the Italian premier said.
Gentiloni pointed to certain common threats, starting from those in Libya, that required concerted response.
"I believe we will be able to push ahead with joint work on that scene," he said.
"Italy has always supported an open dialogue between Russia and the European Union. This is strategic partnership, which should not be disrupted over the crisis related to Ukraine," the Italian premier said.
According to Gentiloni, the European Union and Russia have possibilities for cooperation to prevent common threats, including cooperation in the struggle against terrorism and in countering regional crises.
The Italian prime minister stressed that all the possibilities for cooperation between Russia and the EU, including partnership with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) should be used.
Italy remains certain that the automatic prolongation of anti-Russian sanctions is impermissible, he went on.
"We have been taking steps within the EU and NATO to stress that automatic prolongation of sanctions should not be allowed," he said. "There must be a serious discussion of how the situation in Ukraine is developing."
The Italian prime minister added that the EU member states needed to figure out what goals they wanted to achieve by extending sanctions.
Gentiloni pointed out that the implementation of the Minsk Agreements remained the common goal. According to him, Italy, scheduled to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2018, is interested in resolving the Ukrainian crisis.
Gentiloni believes that Russia and the G7 have opportunities for cooperation in the struggle against terrorism in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan.
"I believe that opportunities for cooperation in the struggle against terrorism do exist. I am talking about Libya, Syria and Afghanistan," he said.
"Russia plays an important role in the global arena, including the Mediterranean. This region is very important to Italy… Russia’s position must be our subject of discussion. We are aware of what unites and what separates us, but we also understand that we have a common interest for international stability, counter-terrorism, and tackling various problems," Gentiloni said.
The G7 summit, chaired by Italy, will be held on May 26-27 in the city of Taormina on the island of Sicily.