Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni sent a message to other EU leaders
Following talks with Theresa May in 10 Downing Street, the Italian leader sent a message he will push back against efforts to punish Britain for quitting the EU.
Speaking at a press conference alongside the Prime Minister, Mr Gentiloni said: "We have obviously taken into account what is necessary after the decision of the UK citizens of leaving the EU.
"A decision that we respect fully and we are aware of the fact negotiations will not be easy and we also know, and this will certainly be the Italian attitude, that we need to show a constructive and friendly approach.
"There is absolutely no point in having a destructive negotiation between the EU and the UK.
"So obviously we will do this in the hope of fostering the unity of the 27 countries because without the unity of the 27 countries it will be difficult to come to some agreement.
"We must ensure this unity will result in the best possible agreement with the UK."
Theresa May hosted the Italian PM in 10 Downing Street
Mr Gentiloni replaced Matteo Renzi as prime minister last year, following his predecessor's resignation in the wake of defeat in Italy's recent referendum on constitutional reforms.
Mr Gentiloni told Mrs May the UK and Italy shared a "very specific interest" in "reassuring" Italians already living in the UK and British nationals in Italy over their continued rights.
He expressed a wish to confirm "their acquired rights will be respected and there will be reciprocity" between the EU and Britain, adding foreign nationals should be shown "very fair treatment" after Brexit.
The Prime Minister is believed to have had her efforts to secure an agreement on a reciprocal guarantees for EU nationals in the UK and British expats on the continent blocked by German chancellor Angela Merkel.
More to follow…