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Meeting with Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi

June 2, 2011, Rome

Dmitry Medvedev and Silvio Berlusconi reviewed bilateral cooperation and international issues, in particular the situation in the Middle East and Libya, as well as missile defence in Europe.

Following the talks, Dmitry Medvedev and Silvio Berlusconi made press statements.

* * *

Prime Mnister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi (retranslated): Thank you and good afternoon. We are in this absolutely wonderful place, together with our friend Dmitry Medvedev. I would like to thank my colleague here from the bottom of my heart for having been with us to share this day of festivities, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. Mr President attended the parade and congratulated us on this momentous occasion.

We will hold a trilateral meeting with Vice President of the United States Joe Biden shortly. We have already had a meeting during which we examined key international issues. We met a few days ago in France, where we discussed various important aspects of the international situation. But I don’t want to go into it myself; perhaps Dmitry will say a few words about the issues he feels are important to mention here.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I would like to begin my statement by extending my congratulations on behalf of the Russian Federation, all of my Russian colleagues and Russian journalists on the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. Our delegation has greatly enjoyed taking part in this event because Italy is our very close partner and we have very good, very friendly relations with it.

I would also like to express my admiration for the parade, which was a very vivid, typically Italian spectacle. Now I know what all the different troops look like marching in a parade. It was completely different from what we are used to, absolutely fascinating and very striking. I am sure the heads of other delegations enjoyed it as well, the leaders of other states who attended this event together with me.

As a general rule, I believe that all celebrations and anniversaries should demonstrate the consolidation of all forces, to show that Italians look forward to the future with confidence and joy because 150 years is a long enough period of time, and all of this time Italy has been a unified state. Therefore, I would like to extend our congratulations once again.

Silvio and I have just reviewed some issues on the bilateral agenda. We have noted that our relations are truly advanced, and this year we anticipate continued rise in bilateral trade cooperation, the growth of trade, and there are some interesting projects that we have touched upon, even though these consultations were quite brief, and I hope the number of such projects will multiply.

Naturally, we also discussed foreign policy because just recently, in France, we examined in detail all the major issues and difficulties that exist in the world today, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa.

”This year we anticipate continued rise in bilateral trade cooperation, the growth of trade, and there are some interesting projects, and I hope the number of such projects will multiply.“

Today we exchanged views on the progress in the peace process in Libya. You know Russia’s position on the issue. We would like to do everything we can to help resolve the situation through talks rather than the use of force, and we believe that the Libyan people must decide the future of their country themselves. This is not a simple option, and judging from current indications the state of affairs remains very complicated. I hope that we will be able to discuss the situation in the Middle East and in Libya at the trilateral meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden.

However, this is not the only topic on our agenda. There are many other issues on which we should exchange information on a regular basis, where it is vital to adjust our positions and exchange our views openly. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Silvio for creating this opportunity. At any rate, I never miss an opportunity to meet with our American friends because we have a great deal in common, both issues we tackle from very close positions and those that divide us and regarding which it is always useful to hold additional consultations. Incidentally, one of such issues is anti-missile defence in Europe.

Silvio, thank you for proposing a meeting in this format, where we can discuss everything that interests us.

Once again, I would like to extend my most sincere congratulations. It is a wonderful day and the weather is great, even though the forecast was a bit different. Thank you.

Silvio Berlusconi: I want to thank Dmitry Medvedev for attending the celebrations and for his words and friendship. I also would like to remind you that it is the Year of Russian Language and Culture in Italy and the Year of Italian Language and Culture in Russia. Italy is Russia’s fourth biggest trade partner, and our ambition is to become its third biggest trade partner in a short time.

Our conversations and meetings with Dmitry Medvedev have always been very positive. Our positions and interpretation of various events nearly always coincide. Perhaps this is due to the fact that we have shared cultural roots. We often become allies during debates at international venues. Thank you, Dmitry, and thank you to all Russian journalists who came here. You are always welcome guests in our wonderful country. Thank you.

June 2, 2011, Rome