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Italian President Sergio Mattarella said Friday that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s State visit was strengthening cooperation between the nations after meeting Xi at the presidential palace in Rome.

Mattarella hailed the memorandum of understanding that the Italian government is set to sign on Saturday related to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and would result in an increase in cooperation between Italian businesses and Chinese businesses.

Xi Jinping said that Beijing does not want trade and investment relations with Italy to be a one-way street but in both directions.

The Chinese president said the meeting with his Italian counterpart was “fruitful’ and featured “broad agreement”.

He also argued that the good bilateral relations between the States were positive for the whole international community.

Chinese president Xi Jinping visits Italy

Earlier Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said the memorandum of understanding his government is set to sign for Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative is part of “growing cooperation between Italy and China that will bring benefits, first and foremost to our country”.

Speaking to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, Conte said that the “very old” relations between the States are “very good and the prospects for cooperation will be boosted further” with the deal for the huge infrastructure plan to create a sort of modern-day Silk Road.