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Anti-Russian sanctions hamper economic partnership — Italy’s top diplomat

According to Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfanothe, the European Union and American partners recognize how important it is to keep channels of a dialogue with Russia open

ROME, November 7. /TASS/. Anti-Russian sanctions continue to stand in the way of productive economic partnership between Russia and Italy, although contacts with Moscow have never stopped, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano told TASS ahead of a trip to Moscow where he will take part in the 15th session of the Russian-Italian Council for Economic, Industrial and Monetary-Financial Cooperation.

"Of course, we cannot deny that sanctions keep standing in the way of full-scale productive economic partnership. The duration of the European sanctions depends on the level of compliance with the Minsk agreements on Ukraine," the senior diplomat said.

"That is why, it is necessary to not only work on strengthening our economic partnership through encouraging and supporting trade and investment, but also to take efforts towards creating conditions for the lifting of restrictive measures, starting with a full compliance with the Minsk agreements. Positive and constructive moves by the Russian side are needed within this context," Angelino Alfano said.

He said Italy has always maintained a constructive political dialogue with Russia. "Of course, we act without going beyond the framework of European sanctions, which we share and accept - mainly their political role," the diplomat said. "However, this does not mean suspending channels of communication with Moscow and does not prevent constructive economic cooperation," he went on to say.

"On the contrary, this has pushed us towards looking for new ways of cooperation in the sector of innovations, in sectors that have possibly not been affected by sanctions as of yet," Alfano said.

He said the European Union and American partners recognize how important it is to keep channels of a dialogue with Russia open, especially for a more efficient fight against international terrorism.

According to the Italian foreign minister, Moscow can also play a major role in the settlement of global tasks. "Maintaining comprehensive and constructive cooperation on the global level, including through a major contribution from Russia, remains the common aim (of G7) for the future," he said. "That is why, it is important not to spare effort for removing obstacles and creating all conditions for that. For our part, we are ready to welcome and assess positive moves by the Russian side," Alfano said in reply to the question about prospects to get back to the G8 format with Russia’s participation.