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Official website of the President of Russia

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Press Statement Summing up Negotiations with Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato

June 5, 2000, Rome

Vladimir Putin: I would like to start by thanking the Italian President and Prime Minister for their invitation. My colleagues and I apologise to the press for having kept you waiting so long. Thank you for your patience.

This visit to Italy follows a meeting with the united European leadership and talks with the US President. These negotiations with the Italian Government have covered issues beyond our bilateral relations. We discussed European security, cultural and social cooperation and economic partnership.

Our delegation’s membership is also indicative. It includes members of the Russian Government, the Foreign Minister, and Mr Luzhkov, the Moscow Mayor, who has an excellent relationship with his counterpart of Rome. This allows us to expect that our work in Italy will give a new impetus to Russian-Italian relations. Even leaving all that aside, we think that the level of our relations is very indicative, and what is going on in that sphere greatly satisfies us.

As I have said, we focused on international security problems, as well. We asked the Italian Prime Minister to think over our suggestion, and ask his European colleagues’ advice on the following issue. As we know, many in Europe, North America and the whole world are concerned about international security and the preservation of the 1972 ABM Treaty. We share the basic premises of that discussion, and we gratefully accept the stances of many European leaders, who insist on preserving the treaty.


I suggested to the Prime Minister today to give careful thought to Russia’s initiative to establish a European anti-missile defence system together with Europe and NATO, and talk the idea over with his European colleagues. On the one hand, that would help to avoid all the problems that may arise with the chance for upsetting the balance of forces. On the other hand, it would guarantee absolute security of any European country and of our US partners.

As for our bilateral relations, we talked much about coordinating our efforts on the international scene, and about strengthening the United Nations. We pointed out with satisfaction the progress of certain large-scale projects in which both Italy and Russia are interested, such as the ambitious Blue Stream project, with $2 billion total funding. It involves ENI on the Italian side, and Gazprom on the Russian.

We have many other big projects, but the main point is not even these projects. The Italian and Russian leaders certainly share the desire to develop our relations. That is what matters most.


June 5, 2000, Rome