Executive Intelligence Review


Italian Prime Minister Conte Meets Putin, Reiterates for Group of 8 To Include Russia

Oct. 25, 2018 (EIRNS)—Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was in Moscow yesterday, where he met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin. Conte also met with Italian industrialists in Russia. Sanctions, Libya, Syria, the INF Treaty and economic relations were the subjects of the talks.

In their joint press conference, Putin stressed that the economic issues were prominent on the agenda. Conte called the meeting “very positive” and said that “Russia is fundamental to finding solutions to regional crises.” Putin ensured Russia’s participation in the international Libya conference Nov. 12-13 in Palermo but avoided answering a direct question as to whether he will personally be present.

(Both Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump have been invited. They will be in Paris Nov. 11 for the World War I centennial.)

On Libya, Conte said that he and Putin agreed that there should be an “inclusive process of reconciliation led by the UN” that respects the will of the Libyan people.

“Russia’s participation is fundamental for the solution of the Libyan question,” Conte declared.

On Syria, Putin stressed that the stabilization of the country will help reduce migration to Europe, while Conte stressed that both views converge especially concerning support for the UN Geneva negotiations.

On Ukraine, Conte said that “there is no alternative to the Minsk agreement” and reiterated support for the Normandy Group of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany; and for the OSCE.

Responding to a question on EU sanctions against Russia, whether Italy will go so far as to veto them in the EU, Conte said that he would not anticipate what Italy will do, but said the Italian position “is even more ambitious: We want to convince all our European partners” that sanctions are not a goal but an instrument and should be lifted as soon as possible.

During his visit, Italian and Russian firms signed deals for € 1.5 billion. Putin said they are considering connecting Italy to the Turkish Stream pipeline through Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and other countries.

As soon as he arrived in Moscow, Conte met Italian entrepreneurs who are in Russia. When Annarita Pilotti, head of the shoemakers association, called for lifting sanctions, she received an ovation. Conte replied that Italy considers sanctions an instrument and not a goal, and that

“Russia is our special partner, a strategic partner, and you will recognize that since the beginning I have shown attention to this country. I proposed a G8, with President Putin at a table with the G7 partners, in order to solve all important crises in the world.”