Renzi says Italy working to build bridges with Russia

Premier to meet Putin, with deals worth over 1 bn to be signed

(ANSA) - St Petersburg, June 17 - Premier Matteo Renzi said Friday that Italy is working to restore relations between the EU and Russia that were badly damaged by the Ukraine crisis.
    "We are working to build bridges," Renzi said in St Petersburg. "This is Italy's objective. Italy thinks dialogue is needed, not closure. "That's why today is important because we think that the reasons that bring us together and more than the ones that divide us". Renzi was speaking during a visit to a worksite of Italian firm Astaldi in the Russian city after having a private visit to the Hermitage museum. The premier is set to address the St Petersburg Business Forum later on Friday and have a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Renzi said that the Italian delegation he is leading will have signed deals worth over a billion euros by the end of the day. "Today we will sign agreements for over one billion euros," he said. "Legitimate agreements within the framework on the sanctions (imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis) because we respect the rules". The deals between Italian and Russian firms will be signed in the presence of Putin.