Security cooperation, dialogue high on agenda at Italy-Russia talks

Security cooperation, dialogue high on agenda at Italy-Russia talks

The flags of Italy and European Union flying at the Italian embassy in Moscow.

International security cooperation, Ukraine, Nagorno-Karabakh and Belarus are expected to top the agenda at talks in Moscow on Wednesday between Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, according to a statement.

Di Maio and Lavrov's talks will focus on "topics of reciprocal interest including cooperation in the area of international security, with an emphasis on strategic security and arms control," said the statement from Russia's foreign ministry.

Also on the agenda are Russia's relations with the European Union, the situation in eastern Ukraine and in the disputed South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the post-election unrest in Belarus - where the EU recently slapped sanctions on its president Aleksander Lukashenko.

Russia "attributes particular importance to maintaining a high level of cooperation with Italy, a major political and economic partner in western "Europe...it constantly continues to grow," said the statement.

"Di Maio's visit should give fresh impulse to the development of dialogue between Russia and Italy," said the statement.

Wednesday's talks will take place on the sidelines of an Italy-Russia economic, industrial and financial council meeting that Di Maio will co-chair, the statement said.