Putin on one-day official visit to Italy on Thursday

Vladimir Putin

Rome, July 2 (IANS/AKI) Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, President Sergio Mattarella and will meet Pope Francis during an official visit to Rome on Thursday amid tight security.

The meeting between Putin and Conte is scheduled to take place at the Prime Minister’s office and the two leaders will hold a joint press conference afterwards, said a statement from Conte’s office.

Putin’s talks with Conte and Mattarella were expected to focus on “key issues in Russian-Italian political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian aid cooperation” as well as “pressing international and regional issues,” Russia’s official Tass news agency reported, citing a statement from Kremlin.

Putin and Conte will also attend a meeting of the Russian-Italian Civil Society Dialogue Forum, according to the Kremlin statement, Tass said.

“The President of the Russian Federation will visit the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis,” Tass quoted the statement as adding.

There will be numerous traffic restrictions in central Rome during Putin’s one-day visit, police announced.

An off-limits “green zone” will close off the Hotel St Regis near Piazza Repubblica, the streets around Palazzo Chigi (the Prime Minister’s office) and Palazzo Madama (the Italian Senate, where Conte is due to dine with Putin), and Via della Conciliazione leading to St Peter’s Square, according to police.

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