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6 Nov, 2008 16:52

The truth about South Ossetian war should be revealed - Berlusconi

The West should know the truth about the war in South Ossetia, said the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi after talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow. Solutions to tackling the global financial crisis were another important issue o

During the talks the sides agreed that a new financial architecture with collective decision-making should be a proper response to the global financial crisis.

Dmitry Medvedev said: “Certainly, we spoke of the global financial crisis as well. Here we are unanimous in our view: we all need a new financial architecture. The one that exists today is not meeting its goals. The result of it is the capital planetary financial-economic disruption which occurred and which is still continuing today.

“The main thing is to adopt proper collective mechanisms and to establish joint responsibility for the circulation, for the operation of global finance.”

Another important issue was Russia-EU relations after the war in South Ossetia in August.

Medvedev said the conflict in the Caucuses should not affect the cooperation between Russia and the European Union.

Silvio Berlusconi replied that he also sees no obstacles for signing the new Russia-EU deal. 

The Italian PM stressed that the West should be told the truth about the war in South Ossetia. 

He said: “I thank President Medvedev for appreciating Italy’s position concerning the Ossetian conflict. This position was based on knowledge of the facts. And I think these facts should help the international community understand what really happened and overcome the disinformation that took opinion far from reality.”

The sides also discussed the current U.S. elections and the victory of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“We hope the new U.S. president will be a successful leader capable of building proper domestic and foreign policy and lay solid foundations for relations between Russia and the U.S.,” Dmitry Medvedev said. 

Meanwhile the Italian PM described Obama as “young, handsome,” and with a “good tan”.

Meanwhile, Russian and Italian companies have signed a package of important agreements during Berlusconi’s visit. They cover areas like nuclear energy, oil refining, the power sector, the car industry, transport, construction, high technology, and helicopter making.

To watch the full version of Medvedev-Berlusconi media-conference, please follow link.

Russia and Italy – warm relations throughout the years

Moscow and Rome are well known for their close ties. Italy is a top holiday destination for many Russians. Its culture, architecture, music and cuisine have greatly influenced Russia for years.

And this strong relationship extends to political spheres. The links date back to the 16th century.

“Italian culture greatly influences the Russian culture. Even two centuries before Peter the Great, our czars invited Italian architectures and military experts,” said Mikhail Bolduman, an expert on Russo-Italian relations.
But while in the past Russia looked to Italy for inspiration, today Italy relies on Russia economically. Energy supplies dominate trade between the countries with Russia supplying almost 30 per cent of Italian energy needs.

And with Russian gas giant Gazprom improving its ties with Italian energy company Eni this figure is set to go far beyond its current level.

Italian businessmen say energy is not the only fruitful sector for bilateral trade. Andrea De Vincenzi, who works in retail, says Italy is admired by many people for the style and atmosphere the country brings.
“Russia looked at Italy with big admiration even from the Soviet Union. Our textile, clothes and even food is really popular. How many Italian restaurants are opened in Moscow alone?” said Andrea D`Vincenco from Vasko International.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has a good relationship with his Russian counterpart. He has said Russia should become a member of the European Union in the future.
Berlusconi also backed the resumption of talks between the EU and Russia on a partnership agreement that was suspended following the crisis in the Caucus.

Thursday will see the 5th round of the intergovernmental talks between Russia and Italy held in Moscow.

Experts say the negotiations will not be easy as they will touch on urgent global issues like building a new European security system and overcoming the global financial crisis.