We'll sign framework accord with China - Conte

For Belt and Road Initiative

(ANSA) - Genoa, March 8 - Premier Giuseppe Conte said Friday the government's mooted project with China is an "important one of infrastructural connectivity which proposes great willingness on the part of China to cultivate an exchange. With all due caution, I think it can be an opportunity for our country. The upcoming meeting in Italy with the Chinese president will be an occasion to sign the framework accord. It doesn't mean that we will be bound the day after, but we will be able to enter and dialogue".
    Conte was referring to Italy possibly signing up for the Belt and Road Initiative, the 'new Silk Road', on which talks are at an advanced stage.
    If the deal goes through, Conte said he could rule out reprisals by US ratings agencies.
    China hopes Italy will go ahead and join its Belt and Road Initiative despite US pressure not to, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier Friday.
    "Historically, Italy was a stop on the Silk Road," said Wang.
    "We welcome Italy and other European countries that are taking an active part in the Belt and Road Initiative.
    "Italy is an independent country and we trust you will stick to the decision taken by you in an independent way," Wang said answering a question on outside pressure, especially from the US, on Rome joining the new Silk Road, where negotiations with Beijing are in their final stages.


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