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Italy’s opposition party calls to lift anti-Russian sanctions

December 05, 16:45 UTC+3 ROME

Forza Italia, led by four-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is against extension of the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions, a lawmaker said

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ROME, December 5. /TASS/. Italy’s opposition party Forza Italia, led by four-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is against extension of the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions and in case it wins the forthcoming elections it will vote against their extension, a lawmaker with Forza Italia said on Tuesday.

"Forza Italia is against extension of the sanctions and has been sparing no effort at the parliament. We have put to vote relevant resolutions and put this issue on the agenda of debates. We will have elections next spring and we will continue our policy to put an end to the sanction period," Deborah Bergamini said at a conference at the European Parliament’s Rome office.

When asked by TASS whether Italy’s government if it had Forza Italia representatives would vote against extension of the anti-Russian sanctions at a EU summit, she said: "We will use the right to veto."

Maurizio Gasparri, a senator with Forza Italia, noted that the party had already voted against the sanctions at a congress of the European People’s Party. "The stronger we are, the better we will be able to defend our positions," he said.

Both Bergamini and Gasparri said they planned to take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections in the spring of 2018.

Bergamini condemned the current ruling majority for its contradictory position as, on the one hand, it admitted that the sanctions were harmful for the Italian economy and the country’s relations with Russia, but, on the other hand, kept on voting for their extension. She said Russia’s withdrawal from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), "an organization which makes it possible to discuss even controversial matters," had tilted balance.

Forza Italia, a center-right party founded in 1994, is led by Italy’s four-time Silvio Berlusconi. It is in opposition in the current Italian parliament.

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