Sochi (Russia), May 17 (IANS/AKI) Italy and Russia need to join forces in battling terrorism and in ending regional crises in the Middle East and elsewhere, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Wednesday.
"There are areas where Italy and Russia can and must cooperate: in the fight against terrorism and in resolving regional crises in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan," Gentiloni said during a one-day visit to this Russian coastal city where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We have common threats to which we must respond jointly," he said at the joint press conference after the meeting.
Putin underlined his country's "important" ties with Rome.
"I want to stress the importance of today's meeting with Premier Paolo Gentiloni. We discussed many issues," he said.
Meanwhile, Italy's energy giant Eni and Russia's Rosneft signed an agreement to broaden their cooperation.
The accord covers hydrocarbon exploration and production, refining, trading logistics, marketing and sales, petrochemicals, technology and innovation, Eni and Rosneft said.
Rosneft said the agreement included possible joint oil product supplies to Egypt and covered the massive Zohr natural gasfield - the largest-ever found in the Mediterranean.
The accord was signed by Eni and Rosnefts CEOs, Claudio Descalzi and Igor Sechin respectively in the presence of Putin and Gentiloni.
Production at Zohr is due to begin by the end of 2017 and the gas extracted is expected to be sold for domestic consumption in Egypt.
Eni controls 50 percent of the Zohr offshore project, while Rosneft owns up to 35 percent and BP - up to 15 percent.
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