Italy announces bilateral security deal with Ukraine

Rome, Feb 25 (IANS): The Italian government has announced a bilateral support agreement with Ukraine ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) leaders' meeting under Italy's presidency.

Both events were held on Saturday as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine reached its second anniversary.

The security partnership with a 10-year mandate between Rome and Kiev includes cooperation in defence, economy, infrastructure and energy, and humanitarian support, among other fields, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Italian media.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said that security and support for Ukraine will be among the main priorities under the G7 mandate. She was among a small group of world leaders who travelled to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, to commemorate the second anniversary of the conflict.

"We reiterate the centrality of Ukraine to the agenda of Italy's G7 presidency and 360 degrees of Italy's assistance to Kiev, starting from reconstruction and in security matters," Meloni said on Saturday from Antonov Airport near the Ukrainian capital, according to Italian media reports.

In addition to Meloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the unusual G7 meeting outside the territory of the host country in person, with leaders from other members of the group -- the UK, France, Germany, Japan and the US -- participating via video link.

Other leaders in Kiev on Saturday included Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, whose country is holding the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) Council. The EU is a "non-enumerated member" of the G7.

The next meeting on the calendar under Italy's G7 presidency is the minister-level gathering on industry and digital technology in the northern Italian cities of Verona and Trento on March 13-15.

The centrepiece of the Italian G7 presidency will be the summit of heads of state and government to be held in the southern Italian region of Apulia in June.



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