Bush Praises Italy as 'Partner for Peace'
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2005 President Bush praised Italy as a strong partner for peace following a meeting with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi here today.
Berlusconi lauded Bush's leadership in the war on terror and said Italy is proud to do its part in "broadening the borders of democracy and freedom."
Italy is a close ally in the coalition against terror. The Italians have been on the ground in Afghanistan since 2002. The Italians commanded the International Security Assistance Force based in Kabul. They also command and man the provincial reconstruction team based in Herat. Italy also provides 40 percent of the manpower at the Forward Operating Base in Herat.
Some 2,900 Italian soldiers and "Carabinieri" - members of an Italian military and police corps - serve in Iraq with the British-led Multinational Division Southeast. The Italians also contribute to the NATO mission training Iraqi officers.
Italy and the United States worked together closely to persuade Libya to turn away from its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and to turn away from terrorism. The two countries have cooperated through NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as numerous peacekeeping missions throughout the world.