In the course of Putin's state visit to Italy on November 4-7, the facilitation of the visa regime between the two states will be announced, deputy head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Prikhodko stated.
"Such an accord would become an important move towards a visa-free regime between Russia and the EU for a long term", he said.
According to Prikhodko, "an impressive package of new bilateral agreements and accords in different fields of Russian-Italian cooperation" is being prepared for the Russian-Italian summit. It is planned, in particular, to adopt a joint statement, and to sign an agreement on the utilization of Russian nuclear submarines, an agreement on the struggle against crime, and an agreement on cooperation in the sphere of telecommunications. All in all, 13 documents are being prepared for signing.
According to Prikhodko, the Russian-Italian talks will consider the most topical international questions, such as the consolidation of international law and order and the central role of the UN, joint counteraction against new challenges to humanity, first of all the terrorist threat, and the maintenance of strategic stability in the world, including non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the settlement of the Middle East and Iran situation, the process of political and economic restoration of Iraq, and the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula.
Prikhodko noted that consistent build-up of economic cooperation with Italy remains a major priority for Russia. Italy firmly ranks second among the West-European countries in commodity turnover. (In the first half of 2003 the commodity turnover amounted to $5.1 bln, showing an increase by 11 per cent as against 2002).
According to Prikhodko, new large-scale projects in the sphere of the power industry and in the high-tech sectors must encourage further Russian-Italian economic relations. "This would make it possible to really shift the emphasis in bilateral economic relations from simple commodity exchange to investment projects," the Kremlin representative said.
During his state visit Vladimir Putin and Italian President Carlo Ciampi will participate in the opening of the exposition of the picture Litta Madonna by Leonardo da Vinci from the Hermitage collection. The exposition is placed in Palazzo del Quirinale - the residence of the president of the Italian Republic.
The Russian head of state also intends to meet a group of leading Italian entrepreneurs.