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Russia a leading security partner- Italy
August 7, 2013, 9:22 am


The two sides discussed the crisis in Syria and ongoing situation in Afghanistan [AP]

Italy says it considers Russia a “leading partner in stability and security issues” during a meeting between foreign and defence ministers in Rome to discuss global security and military cooperation.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu held talks with their Italian counterparts Mario Mauro and Emma Bonino in a “two-plus-two” format.

The crisis in Syria and the ongoing situation in Afghanistan were high on the agenda during the meet.

“We think that Russia is one of our leading partners in the provision of stability and security. Finally, we are great admirers of Russia,” said Italy’s Defence Minister Mario Mauro.

Shoigu said Russia sees military cooperation with Italy as a vital link in the two countries relations.

“We consider our dialogue as an important element in strengthening positive relations between military bodies of Russia and Italy,” the Voice of Russia quoted Shoigu as saying.

He also praised Italy’s decision to collaborate with Russia in the sphere of military-technical cooperation, which he said is “strengthening trust and stabilises the situation in Europe.”

Military cooperation targets were met 90 per cent last year, according to Russia’s defence minister.

Lavrov said on Wednesday that the two sides are aligned on concerns about Afghanistan.

“Russia and Italy have similar views on the current situation in Afghanistan and on what can be expected after 2014,” said the foreign minister.

The two sides discussed Russia-EU cooperation, including energy issues, the ‘Partnership for Modernisation’ and visa regime liberalisation, added Lavrov.

The current “two-plus-two” meeting is the third in a series of meetings between the two countries that started in May 2010 ahead of the Russia-EU summit.

Italy’s Foreign Policy Chief Emma Bonino said a Russia-Italy intergovernmental meeting will be held on November 26 in Trieste.

By Daria Chernyshova in Moscow, Russia for The BRICS POST, with inputs from Agencies