04:51 GMT +323 November 2017
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    Italian Veneto Region's Head Stands for Lifting Anti-Russia Sanctions

    © AFP 2017/ OLIVIER MORIN
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    On Sunday, Veneto and Lombardy, two Italian richest regions, held non-binding referendums seeking to gain more autonomy from Rome. President of Italy's Veneto region Luca Zaia has shared her opinion toward anti-Russia sanctions.

    "If I could, I would lift the sanctions against Russia immediately… Certainly, I think about our region, thousands of Veneto citizens, first of all, who are engaged in agriculture and agri-food sector and maintain business relations with the country [Russia]. These sanctions are costly to us, approximately one billion euros [$ 1,176 billion]," Luca Zaia, the president of Italy's Veneto region has said.

    According to Zaia, Veneto has always viewed Russia as a partner. In June, the region signed a partnership agreement with Russia's Voronezh region, he added.

    "When we are granted autonomy, we will certainly expand our international relations, new opportunities will arise," Veneto's head noted.

    On October 22, Italy's Veneto and Lombardy held non-binding autonomy referendums. According to Veneto’s local election commission, over 98 percent of Veneto's residents supported more autonomy from Rome. In Lombardy, over 95 percent of the voters backed the devolution of powers, according to regional leader Roberto Maroni.

    Several months earlier, a group of 24 members of the Regional Council of Veneto launched an initiative of lifting anti-Russia sanctions that adversely affect the region's economy and submitted a respective resolution for consideration of the Regional Council.

    READ MORE: Italy's Veneto Issues Resolution Calling for Lifting Anti-Russia Sanctions

    Many Italian regions, namely Liguria, Lombardy and Veneto called for lifting restrictive measures imposed on Russia. In July 2016, the Lombardy Regional Council supported a resolution, initiated by the Lega Nord party, for recognizing Crimea as Russia's territory.

    Related:

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    anti-Russian sanctions, Veneto, Italy
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