Russian, Italian Defense Ministers to discuss prospects for bilateral cooperation

Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino, who arrived in Russia on an official visit on Saturday, will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov on Wednesday.

Antonio Martino was invited to Russia by Sergei Ivanov during his visit to Italy in February 2003.

According to the Russian Defense Minister, Italy "is not only an important but also a successful partner of Russia." He emphasized Italy's role in making Russia an equal G8 member. "Active cooperation between our defense ministries has begun with the Roman meeting," the Russian minister noted.

"Possible joint development of transport systems of logistic support" and joint peacekeeping and counter-terrorist efforts are among the aspects of Russian-Italian and Russian-EU cooperation, Sergei Ivanov added.

At the recent informal meeting of the NATO defense ministers in Colorado Springs /USA/ on October 8-9 Antonio Martino advanced several counter-terrorist initiatives and he is likely to inform his Russian counterpart on them, an Italian diplomatic source said.

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