Italy must look into EU, U.S. concerns over Belt and Road deal: official

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past the podium at the Belt and Road summit in Hong Kong May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

ROME (Reuters) - Italy will join China’s giant “Belt and Road” initiative only after satisfying itself that U.S. and European Union concerns over the infrastructure plan have no basis, Industry Junior Minister Michele Geraci was quoted as saying on Monday.

Geraci’s comments came after a spokesman for the White House’s group of national security advisers, Garrett Marquis, on Saturday called the Chinese venture a “vanity project” that Italy should steer clear of.

“Clearly we must make sure that EU and U.S. concerns (over the deal) are unfounded. The framework of the accord would have to be up to U.S. and EU standards,” Geraci told Italian daily Il Messaggero, reiterating it was not certain Italy would sign the deal.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Valentina Za