By Janet Ekstract
NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Italian President Sergio Matterella has been meeting with President Trump at the White House since Monday to discuss a wide range of topics, most significant among them – immigration, NATO and trade. The ongoing theme of the meeting and joint press conference held on Wednesday was American-Italian ties that go back centuries.
Both presidents discussed ongoing immigration challenges with President Trump – referencing the Mediterranean region as a threat to Italy’s borders. They also discussed trade and their economies. Both nations have invested 70 billion dollars in each other’s economies and continue to play a vital role in one another’s economic future.
Matterella said Italy’s international vision is based on the “Atlantic Alliance” – “The U.S., Italy and Europe are united due to our history, due to our common references, due to the culture we share and due to the very intense human relations we have between our fellow citizens.”
Trump said: “Over the centuries, the Italian people have blessed our civilization with magnificent works of art, science, philosophy, architecture and music.” He added that: “Today, the U.S. and Italy draw strength from our cherished heritage, as we work together to safeguard our people and promote prosperity.”
In reference to NATO, Trump explained that the U.S. and Italy closely cooperate on a wide range of issues, “including the protection of our nations against radical Islamic terrorism.” Trump went on to emphasize that a number of countries, Italy included, have not been paying their full percentage into NATO and needed to do so.
A major talking point included the challenges that NATO faces worldwide especially in the Mediterranean and North African region with the numerous conflicts that threaten borders and are causing hundreds of thousands to be displaced.
Both presidents brought up the ongoing and very serious conflict in Libya which Trump stated has led to a “migration crisis,” which he said has placed “significant and unfair burdens on Italy.” Trump said that he requested NATO and European Union partners to get more involved in the migration issue and added, “they have to help Italy.”
The U.S. president praised Central American nations Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador for the agreements they signed with the U.S, and expressed his appreciation for their willingness to keep immigrants within their own borders.
Italian President Matterella reiterated that both Italy and the U.S. “are defining solutions that can strengthen relationships because commercial trade tensions are to the benefit of no one.”
Both presidents agreed in moving forward that Italy and America will continue to be supportive allies and to work toward new goals together.