U.S. Wary of Putin, Berlusconi Ties, Guardian Reports, Citing WikiLeaks

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s close relationship with Russian premier Vladimir Putin concerned U.S. authorities, according to the Guardian, one of five newspapers that have published diplomatic cables posted by WikiLeaks.org.

Cables between the U.S. embassy in Rome and Washington mention “lavish gifts” exchanged between Putin and Berlusconi and lucrative energy contracts sought by the Italian prime minister, the Guardian said.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Nov. 26 that the publication of “classified reports” on U.S. foreign relations could have “negative repercussions” for Italy.

The Guardian also published a summary of a confidential conversation between Frattini and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on its website. The summary contains Frattini’s criticism of Turkey for what he terms its “double game” of reaching out to both Europe and Iran.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alessandra Migliaccio in Rome at amigliaccio@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net.

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