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China’s Xi to deliver peace speech on anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

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China’s President Xi Jinping will deliver a ‘peace speech’ on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Italy's foreign minister said on Friday, citing top diplomat Wang Yi.

Wang Yi “told me that Xi will deliver a peace speech on the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine” on February 24, 2022, Minister Antonio Tajani told Italian radio RAI, the day after he met the top Chinese diplomat in Rome.

Tajani said that in the meeting with Wang Yi, he called for China to use all its powers to persuade Russia to sit at the peace table to ensure Ukraine’s independence and bring the war to an end.

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Asked about Italy’s partnership in China’s Belt and Road Initiative trade project, Tajani said Rome was assessing the issue and would decide what to do “at the appropriate time.”

Italy, in 2019, became the first major industrialized nation to sign up for the initiative - a colossal project designed to improve Beijing’s trade reach.

Little has so far come of the pact, signed during a state visit to Italy by Xi Jinping.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said last year, before she was elected, that she did not want “to favor Chinese expansion into Italy or Europe,” and she would not look to pursue the project.

In December, the European Commission unveiled a plan called Global Gateway to invest 300 billion euros ($319 billion) globally by 2027 in infrastructure, digital and climate projects as a better alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

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