Biden, Meloni reaffirm alliance between US and Italy, discuss key issues

Biden, Meloni reaffirm alliance between US and Italy, discuss key issues

Two leaders meet at White House and discuss range of issues, including war in Ukraine, climate change and Africa

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) - US President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reaffirmed the enduring alliance, strategic partnership and deep friendship between their two countries in a meeting at the White House on Thursday.

The two leaders discussed a number of issues including the Ukraine war, the Mediterranean region, the Indo-Pacific, relations with Africa, trade and climate change.

On Ukraine, Biden and Meloni agreed to continue to provide political, military, financial and humanitarian assistance to Kyiv in its fight against Russia.

"They reaffirm the importance of enabling Ukraine to export food via the Black Sea and condemn Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has been instrumental in reducing world food prices, and its attacks on Ukrainian grain storage and transport infrastructure," said a joint statement.

"Both sides also commit to further coordination on Ukraine’s reconstruction and recognized the role Italy will play in this effort, with Italy’s presidency of the G-7 in 2024 and hosting of the Ukraine Reconstruction Conference in 2025," it added.

- Mediterranean region

The statement said the US and Italy note the vital importance of shared efforts to promote stability and prosperity in the wider Mediterranean region, including by addressing the root causes of instability, terrorism and irregular migration flows.

- Balkans

"The United States and Italy reaffirm their shared commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans and their longstanding support for the region’s Euro-Atlantic integration," it said.

- Indo-Pacific

Both nations are firmly committed to a free, open, prosperous, inclusive and secure Indo-Pacific, according to the statement.

The US also welcomed the increased presence of Italy in the region.

"The two sides reiterate the vital importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which is instrumental to regional and global security and prosperity. The United States and Italy also commit to strengthen bilateral and multilateral consultations on the opportunities and challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China," it said.

"The United States and Italy pledge to continue coordination, including within multilateral fora, on issues to advance global prosperity, inclusive growth and peace and security," the statement added.

- Africa

According to the statement, the US and Italy share a mutual intent to enhance relations with Africa on the basis of a partnership among equals.

"Both countries also renew the commitment to promote effective policies to fight terrorism in the framework of the D-ISIS Coalition," said the statement.

- Technology

"The United States and Italy share a focus on the role of emerging technologies in shaping the global economy and influencing the future of the international system in the coming decades," it said.

Both sides also recognized cybersecurity as a key component of resilience that enables societies to reap the benefits of industrial and technological cooperation and development.

- Trade

The statement also said that “free and fair trade remains a fundamental tool to foster the balanced growth of the global economy and to benefit our people.”

"U.S.-Italy bilateral trade, amounting to $117 billion in 2022 and steadily growing, is a pillar of this expanding partnership. Bilateral investment between the United States and Italy supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across both countries.

- Judicial cooperation

"The sides also commit to intensify bilateral judicial cooperation, in line with ongoing joint efforts to promote the rule of law and counter international organized crime, including human trafficking," the statement said.

- Climate change

Both leaders also discussed climate change, according to the statement, which said Biden and Meloni affirm the existential threat posed by climate change and their commitment to taking decisive actions this decade to keep within reach their shared goal of limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5C.

- Research, education

"The leaders also commit to strengthen bilateral collaboration in science and technology research and development, anchored in values of democracy, equity, fair competition, freedom of inquiry, openness, research integrity and transparency," the statement said.

"Both sides confirm their shared objective to foster high quality and equitable education, including through partnerships between respective high schools and universities and arrangements for joint or double degrees," it added.

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