On Monday Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov who arrived the other day in Johannesburg to take part in the Sustained Development Summit under the UN aegis, met his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi.
As was disclosed to RIA Novosti by the Chairman of the Russian Governmental Information Department, the focus of the meeting's agenda was Russia-EU relations, in particular, the issue of the Kaliningrad region and the implementation of an initiative by Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish visa-free exchange between Russia and the Schengen group. In addition, the officials discussed such issues as the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) membership and bilateral cooperation between Russia and Italy.
Kasyanov and Berlusconi also touched upon ways to implement decisions taken at the G-8 summit in Kananaskis (Canada). This refers to global partnership and destruction of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, the sides discussed a number of issues on the international agenda, including the situation around Iraq. "Russia and Italy have similar approaches to this problem," the Department spokesman concluded.
On Tuesday, Kasyanov is expected to address the sustained development summit to disclose Russia's position concerning environmental security and bridging the gap between rich and poor countries.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969