Ditching Russia sanctions is part of draft coalition deal with Lega Nord – M5S to RT

Ditching Russia sanctions is part of draft coalition deal with Lega Nord – M5S to RT
Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and Euroskeptic party Lega Nord pushed for the removal of anti-Russian sanctions in their draft coalition agreement, an M5S representative confirmed to RT.

A draft of a joint program of the two parties was leaked and published by Italian media on Thursday. The 40-page document reportedly calls for end to treating Russia as a threat and refers to it as a partner, calling for more openness towards it. 

RT has received confirmation from M5S that Russia is indeed mentioned in the program. “We can confirm that in the draft of the agreement there is [a part about] the Russians, but it’s not official,” Diego Destro, press officer for MEPs at European Parliament Movimento 5 told RT.

Asked to clarify whether the removal of the sanctions was also part of the draft, Destro said “yes,” but urged the need to wait for the final agreement.

“The message that comes out is very strong and clear - Italy wants to be a friend of Russia, wants to be a country of peace and cooperation,” Italian journalist Marcello Foa told RT commenting of the draft agreement.

Foa stressed that such stance might be surprising, but not totally for those who closely followed Italian election campaign. The leader of the Northern League party Matteo Salvini has even vowed to remove the “absurd sanctions” that case “immeasurable harm to Italian economy.”

Despite anti-Russian sanctions being imposed by the EU and the US, there are at least some parts that Rome can remove unilaterally, Foa believes. “There is a good chance that the new government will lift the sanctions,” the journalist told RT.

In contrast, the draft agreement has an anti-EU tone as its calls to address the country’s national problems and to revise some treaties, if necessary, according to Foa. Such a major breakthrough could scare Brussels, the journalist noted, as others would try to take a similar stance.

“What is really important in geopolitical terms is that for the first time one of the four big countries in Europe will ask to revise the treaties and to have a better policy,” Foa said.

The EU and US sanctions were introduced in 2014 in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis and Crimea's reunification with Russia, which the West refers to as annexation. Moscow has repeatedly slammed the restrictive measures, saying that Brussels fails to respect the free will of the Crimean population as the peninsula joined Russia after the vast majority of locals approved the move in a referendum.

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