Minsk - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi arrived in the former Soviet republic of Belarus on Monday for trade talks with authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The main topic was cot concern bilateral economic relations, Lukashenko said, according to Bel-1 television news reports.
Belarus hopes that Berlusconi's one-day visit will draw investment into the Belarusian high-tech industry by the Italian telecoms giant Finmeccanica, Lukashenko said.
"We have a good investment climate here," Lukashenko said.
A Belarusian delegation was scheduled to present offers for projects in the former Soviet republic's aerospace and atomic energy industries to Italian business, the Interfax news agency reported.
Belarus has long experienced difficulty attracting foreign investment, in part because of Lukashenko's human rights record.
During 2009, Lukashenko has reduced somewhat state repression of independent media and opposition politicians, in an attempt to reduce Belarus' isolation from European economies.