(RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin will hold his first meeting with Italy's new Prime Minister and former European Commission chief Romano Prodi, who arrives in Moscow at his invitation Tuesday, a Kremlin official said.
Putin and Prodi, who defeated Putin's ally and friend Silvio Berlusconi in April's parliamentary elections in Italy, plan to discuss bilateral cooperation, preparations for a Group of Eight summit in Russia, the long-running crisis around Iran's controversial nuclear program, and developments in the Middle East, the Kremlin source said, reports Trend.
The two leaders are also expected to outline an agenda for bilateral contacts, with an emphasis on economic cooperation, which has traditionally centered on investment, energy, and high technology.
"Italy has remained Russia's major trade and business partner in Europe," the source said. "And last year, bilateral trade grew dramatically (by 53.5% on 2005), reaching $23.5 billion."