MILAN, October 16 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova — Leaders of the 50 member-states of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) are arriving in MiCo, the venue hosting the 10th ASEM summit that will last for two days in Milan, Italy.
The summit will proceed under the theme "Responsible Partnership for Growth and Security". A number of plenary sessions will be held on the issues concerning European and Asian nations, however, the focus of the summit will be the situation in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted upon arrival that the meetings on the sidelines of the summit could initiate a productive dialogue between Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine has applied to become a member of ASEM, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is expected to hold a number of meetings on the sidelines of the summit. Poroshenko is also expected to meet with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi after the summit.
On Friday morning, Poroshenko will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a working breakfast. Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini will also join the morning talks.
Established in 1996, ASEM now unites 50 European and Asian countries, as well as the European Commission and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat. One of the key ideas behind ASEM is to make dialogue more informal and interactive.
Russia joined ASEM at the 8th ASEM Summit of Heads of Government and State in Brussels in October 2010. The summits are held every two years with the 9th summit having taken place in November 2012, in Vientiane, Laos.