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Italy Should Consider Putin's Proposal to Act as Russia-EU Mediator - Lawmaker

© REUTERS / EVGENIA NOVOZHENINARussian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.12.2021
ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) - Rome should consider the proposal made recently by Russian President Vladimir Putin to act as a mediator in a dialogue between Russia and the European Union, Stefano Valdegamberi, a lawmaker from Italy's Veneto Province, told Sputnik on Friday.
On Thursday, Putin said during his annual year-end press conference that Russia has maintained good relations with Italy no matter which party steered Italian politics. The Russian president noted that Rome could play an important role in normalising Russia-EU relations, including the fledgling Russia-NATO talks.

"I am delighted to hear President Putin's statements regarding relations with Italy... I hope that our Prime Minister Draghi will heed Putin and play a mediating role in overcoming the unjustified tensions created at the European level. Russia is an integral part of Europe and we cannot ignore it", Valdegamberi said.

NATO's interests should not take precedence over the European foreign policy agenda, the lawmaker noted, adding that EU leaders should respond to the positive signals from Moscow.

"It must not be NATO that sets the agenda for European foreign policy. I really hope that our national leaders are ready to respond to the hand extended by President Putin to start working together again without prejudice. Barriers and sanctions are of no use to Russia and even less to Europe", he said.

Relations between the EU and Russia have deteriorated over the West's accusations that Moscow is planning to invade Ukraine and amassing troops near the country's borders. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying its actions were purely defensive given NATO's increased military activity near Russia's borders, and stressed that it has the right to move forces within its own territory in its national security interests.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an annual end-of-year news conference at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, in Moscow, Russia - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.12.2021
From Ukraine Crisis to Gender Politics: Key Takeaways From Putin's 2021 Presser
Last week, Moscow unveiled draft proposals on security guarantees with the United States and NATO. The sides are expected to meet in January to start discussions.
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