The meeting between Mr Putin and Mr Amato lasted much longer than originally planned. The Russian President said afterwards that the discussion had focussed on European security and bilateral cooperation in the social, cultural and economic spheres.
Addressing a news conference with Mr Amato, President Putin pointed out that the talks had raised bilateral relations to a new level. He stressed the progress that had been made in joint projects, such as the Blue Stream, involving Italy’s ENI oil and gas concern and Russia’s Gazprom.
Mr Putin also spoke of Russia’s readiness to work with European countries and NATO to set up a European missile defence system. The President said that that would help avoid a disruption in the balance of strength and guarantee the security of every European country. He added that the project would of course be carried out with the participation of their American partners.
After the talks, a ceremony took place for signing bilateral agreements. The two leaders attended the signing of a protocol on bilateral technological cooperation in 2000–2001 and an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in tourism.