Follow us on:   

Putin talks trade with Italian president
November 26, 2013, 10:02 am

A woman begs for money amid passers by in downtown Milan, Italy [AP]

The European Union commission says Italy’s debt is projected to rise to 134 per cent of GDP next year from 133 per cent this year [AP]

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano in Rome on Monday before visiting the Vatican for an intimate meeting with the Pope.

“The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues in bilateral cooperation, first and foremost in the areas of trade and economics, investment and energy, as well as current international issues,” according to a Kremlin statement.

President Putin will head the Russian delegation at the eighth round of top-level Russian-Italian interstate consultations in Trieste on Tuesday.

Italy is the fourth largest world economy in terms of trade turnover with Russia, and trade between the two countries has been growing annually by over 20 per cent in the past years, Putin said earlier this year.

Italy is seeking Russian investment even as forecasts by the European Union commission says Italy’s debt is projected to rise to 134 per cent of GDP next year from 133 per cent this year.

The commission recently warned Italy that it risked missing important debt and deficit targets in the first such review of national budget plans for 13 countries in the euro zone.

The Russian leader also met Pope Francis in the Vatican on Monday for one-on-one talks that focused on finding a peaceful solution to the ongoing civil war in Syria.

During the Pope’s “cordial and constructive” meeting with Putin, “special attention was given to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East and to the serious situation in Syria,” said Vatican Spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.

The two men agreed that a solution to the conflict should “involve the various ethnic and religious elements, recognising their essential role in society.”

Putin’s spokesman said the talks in the Apostolic Palace lasted twice as long as planned.

The two did not discuss ecumenical issues, reported.

Relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches have been strained by a few issues that have prevented the churches’ leaders from meeting.

The Moscow Patriarchate has accused the Vatican of trying to lead its believers away from the Russian Church – an accusation the Catholic Church has denied.

Source: Agencies