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    ITALIAN MINISTER: EUROPE HAS NO FUTURE WITHOUT RUSSIA

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    MOSCOW, February 4th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Co-operation with Russia will be one of the main topics on the agenda of the European Council of Foreign Ministers in February, said Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini at his Wednesday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

    Mr. Frattini assured the Russian leader that Italy holding the rotating presidency in the EU from January 1st would continue upholding Russia's interests in the EU, and also take every effort to expand all-out Russia-EU interaction. "We believe that Europe has no future without regular co-operation with Russia," said the Italian foreign minister.

    According to Frattini, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi "especially values" co-operation with Russia. For Italy, Russia is not only a partner, but "a special partner", the minister quoted Berlusconi as saying.

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