Dear citizens of Genoa,
I am happy I have an opportunity to greet the people of the ancient and glorious city of Genoa and all the citizens of Italy on the eve of the meeting of the G8 heads of state and government.
It gives me a particular pleasure to do so because the bonds between your land and Russia go back many centuries. Genoese sailors reached the shores of the Black Sea as early as the 13th century. And in 1386 a Genoa mission visited Moscow, where it was received by Grand Prince Vladimir Dmitry Donskoi of Muscovy and Vladimir.
We know Genoa as a city of landmark events. Garribaldi’s “Thousand” launched a march from the cliffs of Genoa to usher in an era of Italian unification. The names of Garribaldi and the Genoa citizens Mazzini and Mamelli went down in European history as well as in the history of the Italians’ liberation struggle.
We know Genoa as a city of the Resistance. We are grateful to the people of Genoa for cherishing the memory of the Russians who fought in Liguria in the grim years of the Second World War. Fyodor Poletayev, decorated with the Italian medal for gallantry and buried at the Staglieno cemetery, was just one of those fighters.
We also know Genoa as a city of art. The immortal Paganini enthralled many European capitals with his talent. Russian poets and writers, artists and composers drew inspiration from the beauty of your city. It hosted Tyutchev and Chekhov, Gorky and Aivazovsky, Benois and Vrubel, Skryabin and Rachmaninoff, Gumilyov, Tsvetayeva and Akhmatova.
We know Genoa as a city that has been the venue of important international forums.
In short, we know Genoa as a multi-faceted city, for which we have feelings of friendship and respect.
I would like to use the occasion to note that the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Italy have been successfully developing in recent years. Today we speak not just of cooperation, but of partnership in dealing with the pressing problems of our time. The fruitful political dialogue at various levels, links between the parliaments of the two countries are important factors both in the European and the global contexts. Mutual trade is growing and cultural ties are being consolidated. It is highly important that the ever-expanding tourist exchanges have provided the Russians and Italians with opportunities for direct communication.
Russia sees Italy as a reliable partner. We have a powerful potential for cooperation, and intend to expand our meaningful dialogue with the leadership of Italy to benefit our two nations, as well as to consolidate stability on the European continent and build a just and democratic world order.
The forthcoming G8 meeting in Genoa is no ordinary international event. The attention of the world public is riveted to the event and high hopes are pinned on it.
The summit is to consider issues considered as crucial by millions of people today. Such issues include sustainable development in the context of globalisation and the fight against poverty. The problems of strategic stability and conflict prevention are equally important. Admittedly, the challenges are great. But they must be coped with through dialogue and consistent coordination of stances and viewpoints. I believe we will achieve success because we all share a striving to live in a prosperous and secure world.
I would like to thank the hosts of the G8 Summit and the people of Genoa for what they have done and will do for the meeting to prove a success.