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Vladimir Putin met with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

October 16, 2002, The Kremlin, Moscow

At the talks, Vladimir Putin expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved in Russian-Italian relations and their quality. According to the Russian President, progress was seen in nearly all areas of cooperation – in the economic and humanitarian spheres and the coordination of positions in the international arena. The sides worked out major projects which had good prospects.

The President thanked the Italian leadership for supporting Russia when the issue of raising its credit rating and excluding Russia from the FATF “black list” was being decided.

After his talks with the Italian Prime Minister, Mr Putin told journalists that they focused on the situation in the Middle East, including the situation around Iraq. He confirmed the Russian leadership’s readiness to discuss this issue with partners on the UN Security Council and, if necessary, to draft an additional resolution that would guarantee the work of international inspectors in Iraq.

President Putin also noted that Russia relied on the support of Italy and other countries in resolving the problem of the Kaliningrad Region in light of the EU expansion. He thanked Mr Berlusconi for his understanding of Moscow’s concern over the problems caused for the Russian exclave by the EU expansion.

October 16, 2002, The Kremlin, Moscow