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Italy, Israel conclude raft of cooperation deals


ROME, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Italian and Israeli leaders have signed 12 agreements aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation.

The deals, covering security, energy, education, health care and high technology, were signed after Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta met Monday with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.

"These agreements are aimed at boosting growth and employment, which are the primary goals of every country at the moment," said Letta, whose government now prioritizes cutting unemployment.

Letta, who met Netanyahu three times in the past seven months, said the two countries enjoyed an "excellent" relationship, especially their commercial ties.

Israeli data showed the country's exports to Italy reached 6.3 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of 2013, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Netanyahu, who started his two-day visit to Rome on Sunday, praised Italy's efforts in fighting economic recession and unemployment.

He expressed hope the bilateral deals would help give new impetus to the Italian economy.

The two leaders also exchanged views on international affairs, including the Iran and Syria issues.