From Russia to Rome: Medvedev to meet Pope on official visit

European security, Middle East unrest and economic cooperation in the energy sector are on the agenda of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Italy.

­He is in Rome for talks with his counterpart Giorgio Napolitano as well as with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Medvedev also takes part in a series of key events launching the year of Russia in Italy.

During the visit key agreements were signed, including one on military transit to Afghanistan and an asset-swap deal with an Italian energy company.

On Thursday, Medvedev will also meet the Pope in the Vatican – becoming the first Russian leader to go there after the two sides established diplomatic relations in 2009.

Italy is a leading business partner for Russia, so the visit will focus on diversifying trade and modernizing their economic partnership.