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Putin and Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni Map Relations and Trade Potentials

May 17, 2017 (EIRNS)—At a conference held to demonstrate the strong relations between Italy and Russia despite the European Union sanctions against Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, meeting in Sochi today, signed investment agreements for Russian direct investment in Italy and immmediate technical cooperation.

Present were Putin’s deputy, Igor Sechin, the head of the Italian ENI corporation, and other industrialists. Putin said Russia and Italy had increased the frequency of meetings. Putin declared himself an optimist, and said that this year trade between Russia and Italy would increase by 30%. Putin invited Italy and all conference participants to the St. Petersburg Trade Fair opening on June 1. Russia and Italy have joint work on natural gas, and for the second time, Russians will deliver the Italian crew to the space station.

Gentiloni focused on the bilateral relations. Six hundred Italian corporations work in Russia. He expressed gratitude to Rosneft for financing a hospital recently at the latest Italian earthquake site. "Russia can’t be put aside despite Ukraine," Gentiloni said.

Putin said that Russia

"still hopes to achieve peace in Libya. It is being used now as a transit corridor for for black refugees from Africa to Europe; we are ready to assist Italy and others."