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Bush Thanks Italian PM for Support in War on Terrorism

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2003 – America and Europe are "both more secure and more effective" when they work together, President George W. Bush said today during a press conference with his Italian counterpart.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is visiting Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Italy was one of Bush's strongest international supporters in the build- up to the war in Iraq. The two discussed Iraq's reconstruction, the war on terrorism and the security situation in the Middle East.

"My country is especially grateful to the Italian troops and police who are serving with skill and courage in Afghanistan and Iraq," Bush said. "Our efforts to work for freedom and stability in these countries and throughout the entire region are an integral part of the war on terror."

Bush's comments came just one day after four Italian service members were injured in Afghanistan when an "improvised explosive device" damaged their vehicle.

The president noted the war on terror continues. "We will see it through to victory," he said. "We also understand that defending freedom requires cost and sacrifice, and the United States is grateful for Italy's willingness to bear the burdens with us."

After attending a meeting with Bush, Berlusconi said he was "strongly impressed by the burden of responsibilities" the president takes on himself and on the United States.

"I really thought that it was extremely important for the citizens in the West to know with what attention and care and with what spirit of sacrifice and generosity the United States and its president follow developments all over the world which might bring about danger and threat and hurt (to) any country in the world," the prime minister said.

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