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    PUTIN TALKS ON THE PHONE TO ITALIAN PM

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    MOSCOW, February 4th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday.

    "I want to say hello to you from him," said the Russian president, as opening the Kremlin negotiations with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

    "Today is an Italian day," said the Russian head of state.

    "The Prime Minister and me recalled our work in the previous years," said Putin. "Our meetings both with the Italian Prime Minister and the President are regularly held at the highest level," he added.

    The Russian presidential press service told RIA Novosti that the initiative to hold the telephone conversation belonged to the Italian side.

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