Moscow and Rome eye G8 expansion

President Medvedev and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi have met in the Russian leader’s Moscow residence for talks on the upcoming G8 summit, energy cooperation, and economic ties between Russia and Italy.

Several aspects of Europe's security were also on the agenda, as well as the ambitious South Stream gas pipeline project between Russia and other European countries.

The two leaders also discussed ways to overcome the global financial crisis in the context of the outcome of the London G20 summit in April.

The upcoming G8 summit, to be held in Italy in July, is a good opportunity to search for ways out of the world financial crisis, Silvio Berlusconi said. He said Saturday’s meeting was a good opportunity to work through the key issues to be discussed at the summit. He said of the July meeting: “the agenda promises to be tough” as six more members are going to join the event.

“The Group will become the Group of Fourteen because Mexico, China, India, Brazil and other countries will join in on the second day. And then Indonesia, South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands and Turkey will also take part. That will be the next day so we will be able to touch upon a variety of issues,” said the Italian Prime Minister at the beginning of the meeting.

Speaking ahead of the bilateral talk, Medvedev underlined that apart from discussing the agenda for the G8 summit, the relations between the two countries would be in focus, including trade cooperation and joint scientific high-technology projects. Energy security and Europe’s security architecture are also believed to on the table.