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Mattis, Italian Counterpart Reaffirm U.S.-Italian Defense Relationship

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During their meeting in Rome yesterday, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti discussed the close U.S.-Italian defense partnership that is built upon a long history of mutual respect and shared values, as well as robust cooperation bilaterally and through NATO, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said in a statement.

The two ministers discussed ongoing operations in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa, as well as the new U.S. National Defense Strategy, which underscores the importance of the NATO alliance, White said.

Praises Italy’s Contributions

Mattis praised Italy’s important contributions to coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, where Italy is the second largest contributor of troops after the U.S., White said, adding that Mattis noted the significant role that the Italian national police and army are undertaking to train host-nation security forces.

Mattis also applauded Italy’s superior support and cooperation in addressing security threats along NATO's southern flank, especially in the Mediterranean, White said. They discussed deepening cooperation in Africa, and in particular on the stabilization of Libya, where Italy has significant historical experience, and where the U.S. and Italy share a common interest in the formation of a stable, unified government.

Mattis also thanked Italy for hosting more than 30,000 U.S. military service members, civilians and family members, White said.