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Relations with Russia ‘excellent’: Italian President

Rome, July 4 (IANS/AKI) Italy has excellent ties with Russia – despite its chilly relations with the West due to Moscows 2014 annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed during talks here on Thursday.

Mattarella and Putin also shared their concern over the civil war in Libya and said they feared a resurgent Islamic State jihadist group, which security officials say is regrouping after its defeat in Syria in March, AKI has learnt.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi also attend the talks, a statement from Matarella’s office said.

Putin was greeted with an honour guard as he arrived at the Quirinale Palace for the meeting, which is said to have lasted 90 minutes.

He earlier had an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican and was due to meet Premier Giuseppe Conte during his one day working visit, which comes as the Russian leader seeks to bolster economic ties with NATO and European Union member Italy.

–IANS/AKI

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