Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) shakes hands with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni during a joint news conference in Rome, Italy, on Dec. 11, 2015. (Xinhua/Jin Yu)
MOSCOW, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Russia and Italy pledged to boost cooperation in various fields besides their close business ties, leaders of the two countries said Wednesday in Sochi, Russia.
"We discussed in detail the whole range of cooperation and outlined concrete plans for its further development. Priority attention was paid to promising areas of economic development," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a joint press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
Russia and Italy agreed to further develop cooperation in various promising areas, including in the energy sector, as Russia provides 43 percent of Italy's needs for natural gas, Putin said.
"We have always supported the confidence of Italian companies in the Russian market and society. Our companies had always trusted this country," Gentiloni said, adding that there are some 600 Italian companies operating in Russia.
A package of deals were signed between the two sides in Sochi on Wednesday.
Russia's state-owned Rosneft oil company and Italy's Eni S.p.A. signed an agreement on expanding cooperation in oil extraction, processing, marketing and trading.
In addition, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Italy's leading road management company ANAS, and Avtodor State Company announced the creation of a consortium targeting Russia's highway infrastructure projects.