'Premature' to talk about alternatives to ArcelorMittal for Ilva plant - minister

'Premature' to talk about alternatives to ArcelorMittal for Ilva plant - minister
FILE PHOTO: Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio speaks during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (not pictured) in Rome, Italy, October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria -
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ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s foreign minister said on Wednesday it was “premature” to talk about alternatives to ArcelorMittal <MT.AS> for rescue of the Ilva steel plant in the southern city of Taranto.

The future of Europe’s largest steel plant was left in the balance last week when the world’s biggest steelmaker said it was withdrawing from a 2018 deal to acquire Ilva.

Luigi Di Maio said he did not seek Chinese investors to replace ArcelorMittal at Ilva in a recent state visit to China and that the government was willing to sit and discuss any production problems the group might have at the site.

“We are asking for the contract to be respected, if we talk about alternatives then we are allowing (Arcelor)Mittal to leave and are saying that (Rome) will solve Ilva’s problems,” Di Maio said in an interview with Radio24.

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti)

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