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Italian top diplomat urges to restore dialog between Russian and EU

The Italian foreign minister stresses neither Europe, nor Ukraine nor Russia will benefit from prolonging sanctions conflict
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano
© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

ROME, March 27. /TASS/. Italy strongly believes in dialogue with Russia and wants its partners to understand the important role Russia plays on the global stage, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said in an interview with TASS ahead of his visit to Moscow.

"Despite all the difficulties connected to the situation in Ukraine, we strongly believe in dialogue with Russia, we have been working in order to make our partners understand that it is impossible to resolve any global crisis and respond to global challenges without Moscow," Alfano said.

He added that Moscow’s meaningful approach to settling the Ukrainian crisis could facilitate the restoration of a "sustainable and fruitful dialogue between Russia and the European Union." In his opinion, sanctions could be reviewed "since they depend on the implementation of the Minsk agreements."

The Italian top diplomat noted that in order to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, it was important to win support from all parties. "We do not neglect the contradictory aspects of the implementation of the Minsk agreements," Alfano said when asked what was Italy’s view of Ukraine’s steps to fulfill the accords. "However, they cannot be used as a pretext to postpone the fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the parties. On the contrary, there is a need for an impetus to achieve significant results."

"Neither Europe, nor Ukraine nor Russia will benefit from prolonging this conflict in the heart of the continent. We need to create conditions for a compromise, focusing on actual pressing issues of the negotiating process. Of course, we expect both Kiev and Moscow to show political will aimed at reaching a compromise," the Italian foreign minister stressed.

Alfano went on to say that NATO and trans-Atlantic relations are the central pillars, but the North Atlantic Alliance should adapt to the modern realities and new challenges. 

"It is important that NATO adapts to the environment that has significantly changed since the alliance’s creation. New challenges from the south have emerged. Therefore, we should focus our attention on searching for solutions and bring the alliance’s tools in line with our modern tasks," Alfano said.

According to Alfano, enhancing collective security inside the European Union serves as a guarantee for security of European citizens and is a response to their fears. "We believe European defense is crucial so that European citizens could regain faith in our common project."

"Our key goal is to suggest efficient answers to the questions that mostly concern European citizens: this is economic growth, security and migration," the foreign minister added.

G7 ministerial meeting

Foreign ministers from G7 member states will hold a meeting in the Italian city of Lucca on April 10-11, Alfano said.

"While presiding over the G7, Italy will focus on combating terrorism and solving most pressing global crises, including the migration issue, as well as on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate," Alfano said. "Besides, special attention will be paid to food security, healthcare, innovation-based sustainable development, issues related to the development of Africa and the ways to use culture as a tool for dialogue," the Italian foreign minister pointed out.

"We may have this agenda approved at the G7 ministerial meeting scheduled to be held in Lucca on April 10-11," he noted.

Alfano expressed confidence that US President Donald Trump would contribute to the G7 summit due in late May in Taormina (Sicily), which is going to be his debut G7 summit. "Trump is trying to keep the promises he made to his supporters so we need to respect that. It is undoubtedly too early to say how president Trump will change the United States’ foreign policy," the Italian top diplomat said.

According to him, the US needs to continue participating in regional matters, "its lack of leadership will affect all parties." "For us in Europe, transatlantic relations will always remain irreplaceable. On the whole, I believe there have been too much mistrust and aggression towards president Trump lately," Alfano said.