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Italy's anti-elite prime minister plays by rules at G7 club

Reuters  |  LA MALBAIE, Quebec 

By Giselda Vagnoni

LA MALBAIE, (Reuters) - Italy's new played by the rules at the industrialized nations summit, leaving none of the club's members unhappy in his debut on the international stage in

Conte did, however, support U.S Donald Trump's unpopular call for to rejoin the group that includes the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and

"I agree with (Trump). should be re-admitted into the It is in the interests of everyone," Conte said in a post.

was expelled from what was then called the in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from

"Overall an encouraging debut," said one European as the summit drew to a close and the Italian had not gone so far as to break the ranks of the European countries as feared by some. "He was low-key, moderate, aware of the fact that leaders were weighing him, willing to engage and show pro-European credentials."

hailed what he called a "first and very good, promising meeting" with Conte, while president said he "didn't see divergences between and the rest of the over trade."

A little-known law professor, Conte, 53, emerged from obscurity last month when he was chosen to lead the coalition of the and the far-right League.

Conte appeared to break with the EU line during his inaugural speech in the this week when he called for a review of EU sanctions on Russia.

He landed at the summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, just 48 hours after taking power, forcing European partners to guess what goals would pursue at the summit.

U.S. President railed against trade practices he called unfair to the at the meeting, where leaders agreed on Saturday to fight protectionism and reform the

The 5-Star and the League's electoral victory in the March election has been attributed in part to their promise to prioritize the problems of Italian people, echoing Trump's "America First" position. The stance had generated some anxiety about breaking ranks and standing by Trump against the European partners.

But Conte said before the meeting began that would have undertaken "a moderate line" over the trade dispute.

At his informal meeting with Trump, the U.S. president congratulated Conte for the "great electoral victory" and invited him to the In a post on Saturday, Trump said Conte would visit "shortly" and said: "He will do a great job - the people of got it right!"

Conte's chemistry seems to have been good also with French President

In a meeting with Europeans, Conte relayed the wish of the Italian people to have a dialogue with Russia, and called for space for that desire in the final communique, a French delegation source said.

"We all tried hard to find a wording acceptable for everybody. At the end all the participants smiled and said 'look this is the first example of European unity coming from the new since the elections'," the source said.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; additional reporting by and Jean-Baptiste Vey; editing by Grant McCool)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 10 2018. 09:50 IST