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Italian PM Conte: Open Dialogue With Moscow 'Essential', Sanctions Not End Goal

© Sputnik / Alexey Vitvitsky / Go to the mediabankPrime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte at the NATO summit of heads of state and government, Brussels
Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte at the NATO summit of heads of state and government, Brussels - Sputnik International
GENOA (Italy) (Sputnik) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte underscored the need to have an open dialogue with Moscow on Friday and reiterated that the anti-Russia sanctions cannot be an aim per se.

"The point is that the sanctions cannot be a final objective, they can only be the means. Maintaining dialogue with Russia is essential and also becomes necessary for us, because we have an intensive commercial exchange, and just like other countries protect their interests, we need to protect our economic interests related to national interests, " Conte said at the Limes' Festival in Genoa titled "A Strategy for Italy," and devoted to the role of the country in Europe and the world.

READ MORE: Putin Accepts Invitation to Visit Italy, Date to Be Coordinated — Russian Envoy

The prime minister went on to note that Italy has a "traditional" tendency for dialogue with Russia.

"With Moscow we are developing what is our traditional inclination to dialogue … We stay loyal to our principles, our values, follow our strategies, but also try to always have an open dialogue," Conte added.

Newly appointed Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks next to Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Minister of Labor and Industry Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Justice Alfonso Bonafede and Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi during his first session at the Senate in Rome, Italy, June 5, 2018 - Sputnik International
New Italian PM Conte Backs Lifting Anti-Russia Sanctions
The new Italian government, which was formed in late May by a coalition comprising the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the euroskeptic Lega party, has consistently called for the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions.

Relations between Moscow and the West deteriorated in 2014 after Crimea’s reunification with Russia and amid the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The European Union and the United States imposed restrictive measures against Russian individuals, companies and economic sectors. Moscow has responded by imposing restrictions on food imports from the countries that supported the sanctions.

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