Reuters International

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi talks during a news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (not seen) at Chigi palace in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi

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ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Friday it would be a "disaster" for Britain if its voters choose to leave the European Union at this month's referendum, and it would also hurt the rest of Europe.

"It's clear that it would be a disaster for the British," Renzi said at a conference near Genoa in northern Italy, when asked about the possibility that the June 23 vote produces a victory for those who want to quit the EU.

"It would be a dreadful mistake for both Britain and Europe," Renzi said. He added that this outcome would produce short-term market instability but he did not think it would harm Italy's interests in the medium to long term.

(Reporting By Gavin Jones, editing by Isla Binnie)

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