Negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, under way in the Kremlin, have focused on the new situation in the world after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. On the Russian part, the negotiations involve also the Kremlin's deputy chief of staff Sergei Prikhodko. A source in the Russian delegation has told RIA Novosti that Russia's and Italy's "views on the security issue in the new conditions and on the struggle against international terrorism largely concur." Russia highly values the efforts of Italy, as the chairman of the Group of Eight, to coordinate the international community's activities aimed to counter international terrorism. The source said the discussion of new approaches to the security problem involves also the issue of strategic stability in the world. "Russia and Italy have a common understanding that after the September 11 tragic events in the U.S.A. one must make a real assessment of threats existing in the world and of the possibility of effectively countering them," he said. Russia has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the ABM Treaty as the basis of the present-day system of strategic stability in the world. During the current meeting, Putin and Berlusconi are expected to exchange views on ways to form Greater Europe, the source said. In this context, special attention will be given to the deepening of the partnership between Russia and the European Union and the creation of common economic space. According to the source, the Russian president's meeting with Prime Minister Berlusconi, the third in the last few months, confirms the two countries' mutual interest in maintaining an intensive political dialogue. The source described Italy as one of Russia's major European partners and said that cooperation between them meets their national interests and has a positive influence on the solution of many international problems.
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