Italy's parliament speaker backs dialogue with Russia

"Cooperation and dialogue" should underlie Italy' relations with Russia, parliament speaker Roberto Fico said on Friday in a statement after talks with Russian ambassador Sergei Razov at the parliament building in Rome.

"Ties between Italy and the Russian Federation should be based on cooperation and dialogue. And in this regard relations between their parliaments play a decisive role," Fico said.

The European Union also needs "open and constructive" dialogue with Russia, a key a player on the international stage, Fico said.

"Russia plays an important role in international affairs and for this reason the European Union must show unity and keep constructive dialogue open, speaking with one voice," he said.

The summit in Helsinki on 16 July between United States president Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin made it even more "in the interests of all" to improve Europe's relations with Russia, Fico stated.

Fico belongs to the ruling Five-Star Movement, senior partner in Italy's populist government, which backs lifting EU sanctions against Russia over its 2014 intervention in Ukraine.