Beginning of a Meeting with Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gianfranco Fini 2005-02-07 18:06:19 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin: Mr Minister, dear colleagues! Allow me to wish you a warm welcome. I am glad to see you in Moscow once more. I met with Prime Minister Berlusconi quite recently, but very briefly, in Poland. We were scarcely able to talk, so I am very pleased by your visit. We are satisfied to see that work contacts between us are continuing without any breaks at the highest level. And the result can be seen – our trade turnover grew by over 30% last year, and is already around $15 billion. Relations in the humanitarian sphere are also developing well. As far as I know, the exhibition “Italy-Russia: through the centuries” was very successful, and you will be opening today in Moscow, I believe. We know your initiatives to organise the Year of Italy in Russia, with a commercial and industrial focus. I think that this is a very good idea, and we will of course provide all possible assistance in realising it. Gianfranco Fini: Mr President! First of all, I would like to thank you for this meeting. It is very pleasing for me to meet with you once again. I would like to pass on greetings from the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi. He said that he would definitely visit Russia for the Victory Day celebrations. Undoubtedly, excellent relations at a high political level also help the successful development of economic relations, and exchange of commodities between our countries. This morning, I held a long and very fruitful meeting with Minister Kudrin, where we developed a common position on improving economic relations, increasing trade turnover and further measures for investment by Italian entrepreneurs in the Russian market. We agreed that the Italian-Russian Committee of economic and financial cooperation would gather for a meeting in Rome this June. This will coincide with the major national exhibition “Russia in Italy” that will be held in Italy. We believe that this is a very important event, because it will draw particular attention to these events not just from the Italian public, but also from Italian entrepreneurs who wish to invest in Russia. I have a graph here of the growth of trade turnover between our countries. I hope that you will be pleased to hear what Minister Kudrin and I specified today.