Berlusconi meets Medvedev, says worried about N. Africa

16th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is fighting off sex crime allegations, on Wednesday told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev he wanted to discuss concerns over instability in North Africa.

"We will discuss the concerns that we all have about what's going on in the world, especially in the Maghreb," Berlusconi said at the opening of an exhibition with Medvedev in Rome ahead of talks between the two leaders.

The Italian leader, who is a friend of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, also said he had helped improve energy relations between Russia and Europe, adding: "I think I am a friendly reference point for them with the European Union."

"The EU needs Russian oil," he said.

Medvedev also hailed the "strategic partnership" between Russia and Italy.

The Russian leader met with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano earlier on Wednesday and was set to hold talks with Pope Benedict XVI to discuss deepening ties between the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches.

© 2011 AFP

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