Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a bilateral meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini at the Department of State on April 6, 2011. Secretary Clinton highlighted Italy's contributions to NATO in Libya and Afghanistan, as well as Italy's humanitarian support to the people of North Africa and the Middle East.
Secretary Clinton said, "[W]e discussed at length the situation in Libya. As NATO allies and as members of the coalition of nations that responded jointly to the crisis in Libya, Italy and the United States have a shared stake in ensuring the security of the Libyan people. Italy has made critical contributions to that mission. Italy was a strong voice in support of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973. Italian planes have flown missions to enforce those resolutions while Italian ships and bases have provided valuable logistical support. And on the humanitarian front, Italy helped to evacuate foreign nationals quickly and safely while also delivering 26 tons of aid, including food and medical supplies. The foreign minister and I talked about the ongoing NATO mission. We will be meeting at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Berlin next week. And we are very committed to staying in close consultation.
"Now, there are so many issues that we have on our plate right now, but one that I want to mention is the number of immigrants that are coming to Italy. Italy has been dealing with this influx of immigrants particularly from Tunisia, because we also share the goal of helping to provide stability and opportunity to the people of Tunisia. And they are also, as Egypt is, engaged in a very important transition. So Italy is bearing more than its share of the responsibilities as we all do everything we can to assist the people of North Africa and the Middle East to fulfill their aspirations for a more democratic future with greater human rights and economic opportunity.
"I want to express again the appreciation of the United States for the contributions that Italy has made to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Italy leads the NATO forces in western Afghanistan, where 4,000 Italian troops are stationed, most of them in Herat Province. Thanks in large part to Italy's leadership, including the hard work of Italian police trainers, Herat City will be one of the first districts to transition to Afghan-led security in July.
"Now we will be in constant conversation because Italy and the United States are close friends and trusted allies. We work on many issues in addition to Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Afghanistan, and we're always grateful to our friends for their leadership and their solidarity in working together."
You can read the Secretary's complete remarks here.