March 14, 2019 / 12:14 PM / 7 months ago

Italy's foreign minister defends MOU agreements with China

ROME, March 14 (Reuters) - Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero on Thursday defended the commercial accords Italy is poised to sign with China as part of its “Belt and Road” initiative and said they had the backing of President Sergio Mattarella.

“My understanding is that a balance has been found” between the interests of promoting trade and defending national security, Moavero said in answer to questions from a parliamentary panel.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he may sign a series of Memorandums of Understanding on Belt and Road infrastructure investments when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Rome and Palermo later this month.

The United States has raised concerns about the deals.

Reporting By Giselda Vagnoni, writing by Gavin Jones

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