Russian president thanks Berlusconi after exit
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke to Silvio Berlusconi by telephone after his resignation to thank him for a "great personal contribution" to bilateral relations, the Kremlin said Sunday.
"The president of Russia thanked S. Berlusconi for constructive joint work lasting many years and his great personal contribution to Russian-Italian ties," the Kremlin said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.
"It was noted that cooperation between the two countries has reached an unprecedentedly high level and is is hoped this will continue to move forwards," it added.
Italy emerged as one of Russia's closest EU allies largely thanks to a huge personal rapport between Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and Berlusconi, which extended to celebrating each other's birthdays.
Berlusconi submitted his resignation President Giorgio Napolitano on Saturday as Italy battles an unprecedented financial crisis.
Putin on Friday said he would miss Berlusconi as Italian premier, describing him as "one of the last of the Mohicans" and "one of Europe's greatest politicians" despite a "scandalous manner with women".
© 2011 AFP