Salvini: Italy 'not afraid' to use EU veto to lift Russian sanctions
The Italian government would ânot be afraidâ to use its veto powers in the EU as a âlast resortâ to push the bloc into lifting sanctions against Russia, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Monday.
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Salvini said Rome would work to ensure the sanctions â" imposed by the EU after Russiaâs annexation of Crimea in 2014 â" are lifted through âgood manners, numbers and the art of democracy,â but added that unlike his predecessors, his government is ânot scaredâ of using vetoes to do so.
âIâm not ruling anything out,â Salvini said.
The Italian ministerâs remarks come on the same day as Donald Trumpâs meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, during which the U.S. president said he hopes the two end up having an âextraordinary relationshipâ and Putin declared the annexation of Crimea was legal.
Salvini said Italyâs government would wo rk on negotiations with the EU ânight and dayâ until they are satisfied.
âWe have already demonstrated on the migration front that we are quite stubborn, and therefore I am convinced that we can bring home some concrete results,â he said, an apparent reference to how Italy held up last monthâs European Council summit over a discussion on migration policy.
âI am counting on convincing them.â
The Italian minister also echoed statements from Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte by expressing his support for allowing Russia to again âhave a seat at the tableâ of what was once the G8 meeting of country leaders. Western powers and Japan ejected Russia from the G8 in 2014, also in response to the annexation of Crimea.
Salvini also lauded the Kremlin for âworking for its peopleâs interests.â
âSurely in Russia there is a government that for years has been working in the interest of the Russian people, something that in I taly we havenât had [so far], and that we hardly have in Europe,â he said.
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