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Governor of Italy’s Liguria urges lifting anti-Russian sanctions

The governor of northwestern Italy’s Liguria region has called for lifting the sanctions and returning to the G8 format involving Russia
Governor of Italy’s Liguria region Giovanni Toti  EPA/PAOLO ZEGGIO
Governor of Italy’s Liguria region Giovanni Toti

ROME, February 17. /TASS/. Governor of northwestern Italy’s Liguria region Giovanni Toti has called for lifting the anti-Russian sanctions and returning to the G8 format involving Russia.

"Russia is a strategic partner for this country, sanctions have inflicted irreparable damage to Italy’s economy," Toti said at the Russian-Italian seminar in Genoa organized by the "Conoscere Eurasia" association with the support of Russia’s Consulate General in Genoa and the regional administration.

"Russia is a key ally in countering international terrorism, restoring stability in such important regions where the US has given up in the face of the advancement of the Islamic State (terrorist group, outlawed in Russia)," the governor said.

"I’m convinced that our relations with Russia should be restored as soon as possible," said Toti, who is a close ally of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the leader of the center-right political party Forza Italia.

The Italian governor also expressed hope that the new administration of Donald Trump will be able to "correct mistakes of Barack Obama in regard to Russia." All global players should understand that "new opportunities are emerging," he stressed.

"Italy’s right center has always said that anti-Russian sanctions are madness for economy and global geopolitical equilibrium. We hope that Trump will close this bad page in the diplomatic relations with Russia and G7 will be soon extended to the G8 format," he said.

The governor said the region’s economic ties with Russia were developing dynamically despite the obstacles such as sanctions. He recalled that the coastal region of Italy organized a business mission to Russia last year. "We believe that our region may attract Russian investments in the spheres of production, research and tourism," Toti said.

Last year, Liguria’s regional council along with two other regions - Veneto and Lombardy - adopted a resolution calling on the Italian government to lift sanctions, strengthen relations with Russia and recognize Crimea’s status as Russia’s territory.

President of the "Conoscere Eurasia" association Antonio Fallico, who is also chairman of the board of directors at the Inteza Bank, said "despite the geopolitical shock and the significant decline in trade to 45%" (last year compared with 2013) there can be talk of "a new start in bilateral relations."

The "Conoscere Eurasia" association resumed a series of traditional meetings this year bringing together representatives of businesses and politics of Italy and Russia, who discuss bilateral relations.