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Italy's Diplomatic Shifts: Defending Ukraine, Abandoning China's Belt and Road Initiative

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has strongly defended Italy's unwavering support for Ukraine, dismissing critics who suggest that allowing Russia to win would end the war. Meloni stressed that this position would be a betrayal of Ukraine's sovereignty and a dangerous precedent for global security.

In a major development, Italy has officially notified China of its decision to withdraw from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a Chinese-led multibillion-dollar infrastructure project. This move ends months of uncertainty about Italy's participation in the ambitious program.

Italy's decision to join the BRI in 2019 made it the first major Western nation to do so, despite concerns raised by the United States about China's potential control over sensitive technologies and vital infrastructure. However, upon taking office last year, Prime Minister Meloni expressed her intention to withdraw from the deal, citing its lack of substantial benefits for Italy.

The 2019 agreement between Italy and China will expire in March 2024, and its automatic renewal would have required Rome to give at least three months' written notice of its withdrawal. According to government sources, a letter was recently sent to Beijing informing the Chinese government of Italy's decision not to renew the pact.

Despite this withdrawal, Italy remains committed to maintaining excellent relations with China. Government sources have stressed that Italy's exit from the BRI does not mean a deterioration in diplomatic relations, as other G7 nations have closer relations with China despite not being part of the initiative. Italy will assume the presidency of the G7 in 2024.

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