20:19 GMT +316 July 2019
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte are holding a joint press conference.

    Conte Calls Anti-Russian Sanctions an 'Instrument That Should Be Left Behind'

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that relations between Russia and Italy were in excellent condition, adding that the EU sanctions against Moscow should be abolished.

    "We have confirmed the excellent state of our bilateral relations, despite the preservation of the conditions that led to sanctions by the European Union… For Italy, sanctions have never been a goal but an instrument that should be left behind as soon as possible, because the best solution is a dialogue," Conte told a press conference after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

    The Italian official also spoke in favor of maintaining economic ties between Italy and Russia.

    "I think it is right to maintain economic relations between Italy and Russia, and in particular, to support the activities of numerous Italian companies operating in Russia as it is within our mutual interests," Conte stressed.

    The new Italian government, a coalition comprising the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Euroskeptic Lega party, has consistently called for the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions and Moscow’s reinstatement as a strategic mediator of the Syrian, Libyan and Yemeni crises, and Europe's partner in counterterrorism efforts.

    READ MORE: Serbia to Lobby Council of Europe to Drop EU Sanctions on Russian Lawmakers


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