Italy's foreign minister has said he hopes Russia will soon rejoin the Group of Eight (G8) world powers, which was pared back to seven powers after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
"We cannot but want resuming the G8 format with Russia and ending the atmosphere of the Cold War," Angelino Aliano told Rai 2 TV on January 11.
Italy, which has pushed to lift European Union sanctions imposed on Russia after it took over Crimea, "hopes" that the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will improve ties with Russia and make it possible for Moscow to rejoin the G8, Alfano said.
"We are at the worst moment in relations between the United States and Russia since the end of the Cold War," he told reporters in New York earlier in the week.
But Alfano added that he didn't know if a rapprochement with Russia would be possible before May, when Italy is scheduled to host the next G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily.
Unless the United States changes its stance toward Russia, Alfano said, it would be "premature" for Russia to rejoin the G8 without any evidence that it is complying with the Minsk peace accord with Ukraine.