Putin and Italian PM discussed Ukrainian crisis, tourism and Dostoyevsky's work

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After talks with Matteo Renzi the Russian President stated that the Russian Direct Investment Fund together with Italian partners will establish a $1 billion fund.

On March 5 the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi held talks in Moscow. The meeting resulted in the creation of a joint Russian-Italian investment fund at an amount of $1 billion.

Renzi and Putin also discussed the conflict in Ukraine, the situation in Libya, bilateral cooperation and problems arising in connection with the EU economic sanctions against Moscow.

Minsk agreements and decentralization of Ukraine

After the talks with Matteo Renzi Vladimir Putin admitted Russia and Italy agreed that the Ukrainian parties to conflict should keep the Minsk arrangements.

“I’m sure it provides an opportunity for a comprehensive peace settlement and for facilitating a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donetsk and Luhansk,” said the Russian leader. Putin stated he exchanged views on the crisis in Ukraine with the Italian Prime Minister. “As everyone knows the situation is still difficult there, but at least they stopped fighting, killing people and destroying cities,” he explained.

Matteo Renzi, in turn, promised that being part of the EU structure Italy would provide all possible support for the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. “I think it is important to emphasize that the Minsk negotiations on February 12 became crucial for the peaceful solution to the Ukrainian problem,” said the Italian leader. According to him, “it’s not just about the cease-fire, the document opens the way for conflict settlement and building a robust structure that would allow this country (Ukraine) to develop.”

“Italy is actively involved in the OSCE monitoring mission, and Italy is ready to provide all possible support within the EU structures, sharing its experience,” stated Renzi. He believes that, in particular, Italy could share its experiences in decentralization of the country. “I hope that we all will work hard to resolve the Ukrainian crisis within a short time frame,” admitted the Italian PM.

Joint investment fund

Vladimir Putin said that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) together with Italian partners created a joint $1 billion fund. According to him, the Italian investments in Russia exceeded $1.1 billion and the Russian ones in Italy – $2.3 billion.

“Despite the fact that for some well-known reasons mutual trade turnover fell by 10% last year, Italy is still one of the leading trade partners of Russia,” commented the President of the Russian Federation.

As for the spheres of cooperation, Putin mentioned energetics. He reminded that Enel (an Italian manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas) had invested heavily in the Russian power engineering objects. The Russian “Rosneft” and “Lukoil”, in turn, hold assets of some refineries in Italy. “It is important that in such a way we complement the traditional scheme “buyer-seller”,” confirmed Putin.

Speaking about bilateral cooperation the Russian President also reminded that Italy was one of the largest consumers of Russian natural gas.

Putin said that such high-tech industries as aerospace, space, nuclear technology were among the important areas of cooperation. He noted that the Sukhoi Company in cooperation with Italian partners was promoting the aircraft Sukhoi Superjet 100 in the international market. “Nowadays the stock of orders is 150 aircrafts,” specified Putin. The President also mentioned another promising project – launching of “Augusto” helicopters in the vicinities of Moscow. “The Russian side forms a significant stock of orders for these machines,” said the Head of the State.

Russian tourists in Italy

The Russian leader also cited data according to which 900,000 Russian citizens visited Italy in 2014, having spent $1 billion there. “The both countries had wonderful years of tourism. Among the brightest events are the State Academic Maly Theater performances, concerts of the Russian National Orchestra in Italy and others,” stated Putin.

The President stressed that, together with the Italian Prime Minister, he could state that “our countries have significant opportunities for further mutual cooperation.”

Situation in Libya

Putin and Renzi also discussed the crisis in Libya, expressed support for the UN’s role in the conflict management. “Russia stands for a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis and supports the mediation efforts of the UN in this direction,” admitted the President of the Russian Federation.

The Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was of the view that Russia could play an important role in resolving the crisis in Libya and fighting against terrorism. “We agreed that our countries should strengthen efforts in this direction,” he said. In Renzi’s opinion, “Russia’s role in the UN Security Council is of great importance; moreover, Russia’s relationships with Egypt could help in that respect.”

“The idea is to combine efforts to repulse those who attack on the basic values of our civilization; I’m talking about terrorism, religious fanaticism as these issues are of great concern for our countries,” explained the Italian PM.

Sanctions and Dostoyevsky's work

Matteo Renzi believes that Italian-Russian cooperation is being actively developed despite the anti-Russian sanctions.

“Cooperation is being actively developed despite the fact that the international context is rather complicated, I mean the economic sanctions against Russia. In whatever direction they are imposed, they create significant problems for the two sides,” told the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Italy to reporters after the talks with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Renzi said he thanked the Russian leader for the support for the EXPO international exhibition preparation that took place in Milan this year. Renzi informed that they planned to organize the Day of Russia at this exhibition on June 10.

He also admitted he spoke with Putin about Fyodor Dostoyevsky who wrote his famous phrase “Beauty will save the world” in Florence. The Italian Prime Minister believes that this approach “is fundamental for the future of Europe.”

Text and pictures by TASS