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Russia, Italy to discuss humanitarian cooperation

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SOCHI, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - The talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will focus on the expansion of cultural and humanitarian ties between Russia and Italy, a Kremlin official said.

Berlusconi arrives in Russia Sunday on a working visit until August 30 and will have a meeting with Putin in Sochi (Black Sea coast).

Sergei Prikhodko, the Russian president's aide, said, "The program of cooperation includes the 'Russia-Italy: through centuries' exhibition, inter-school exchanges, expansion of Italian language instruction in Russia and Russian language instruction in Italy, and the international meeting of Russian and Italian children organized with participation of the presidents' spouses."

As the development of initiatives proposed by both presidents, the Russian-Italian Forum for Dialogue of Civil Societies has been formed and conducted its first meeting, Prikhodko said. The forum's main purpose is to expand ties between the Russian and Italian public circles.

According to the Kremlin official, the upcoming talks will also focus on Russian-Italian cooperation on the international arena, especially in the context of the Summit-2005 in New York in September and Russia's future presidency in the G8 in 2006.

In addition, the agenda of the current meeting will include expansion of bilateral cooperation in the sphere of the fight against international terrorism, strengthening of the foundations of the world order and the increase of the UN role on the global arena, expansion of bilateral interaction in the context of the Russia-EU and Russia-NATO relations, Prikhodko added.

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