Berlusconi and Putin in talks on nuclear energy

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Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi discussed trade issues, including plans to jointly build a nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad, with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, yesterday.

At a joint press conference at Mr Berlusconi's villa in northern Monza province, the Italian Prime Minister said the economic crisis had brought a 30 per cent dip in trade between Italy and Russia.

The leaders' friendship goes back almost 10 years, and Mr Berlusconi has often defended Mr Putin in the face of international criticism. The Italian leader said the relationship was marked by "respect, friendship and affection".