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Russia, Italy to boost energy ties: Putin after talks with Italian PM
May 17, 2017, 12:09 pm

Putin with Prime Minister of Italy Paolo Gentiloni in Sochi, Russia on 17 May 2017 [Image: PPIO]

Russia and Italy will expand energy cooperatioN, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a press conference following the talks with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Wednesday.

“We’ve discussed promising areas of cooperation, including energy,” Putin said, adding that Russia covers 43% of Italy’s demand for gas. According to President, the parties have agreed “to expand cooperation in the area further on.”

Putin said Russia-Italy bilateral trade was up 28 per cent over the first two months of this year.

At the joint press conference on Wednesday, Putin also dismissed the allegations about President Donald Trump sharing classified intelligence with Russian officials as “political schizophrenia.”

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has said he considers negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the run-up to the G7 summit in Sicily a “good opportunity”.

Italy has broad trade ties with Russia and is one of the Kremlin’s closest allies in Europe.

“This is also a very good opportunity for me, considering that Italy has assumed G7 presidency, to have a meeting with Mr. Putin and discuss pressing issues in the run-up to the meeting, which will take place in ten days’ time,” Gentiloni said.

Italy, Hungary and Greece remain the few dissenting voices among the EU as the bloc debates whether to extend sanctions against Russia.

Italy has, in the past few years, stressed on Moscow’s importance as a trade partner, a supplier of energy and a major player in attempts to end war in Syria.

 

TBP and Agencies

 

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