Preserving fruitful dialog with the US on strategic stability issues, Russia sets an example of great wisdom, Italian foreign minister Renato Ruggiero said after talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov. The Italian foreign minister stressed Italians were attentively following the search for a new framework of strategic stability. "We highly appraise the statement by Russian president Vladimir Putin on the necessity of preserving fruitful dialog with the US, as well as commitments aimed at reduction of the nuclear arsenals," said Ruggiero. Speaking on the current state of Russian-Italian relations, the Italian foreign minister noted they were "perfect", not only in trade and economics, but in many spheres of political interaction as well. Renato Ruggiero pointed out that Italy was one of the most enthusiastic advocates of Russia's active participation in European construction. Speaking about extension of the Russia-NATO cooperation format, the Italian minister said Italy supported Russia's position, as it did Russia's joining the WTO. Ruggiero stressed bilateral trade and economic relations were developing successfully, citing an example of trade turnover indices - 5 billion USD in 1999 and 10 billion USD this year. According to Ruggiero, during Russo-Italian negotiations Afghan and Middle East issues were also discussed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart