Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
February 9, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. And we are delighted to be welcoming the prime minister to the White House this afternoon for his meetings with President Obama and the foreign minister, who is well known in Washington, here to the State Department in his new capacity.

The United States and Italy have such a strong friendship and alliance, and we are working on a full range of important issues from our common efforts in Afghanistan to our concerns over Syria to, of course, the economic issues that will be the topic of the conversation with the President.

But I want to underscore how confident we are in Italy, in Italy’s future, in the extraordinary commitment that Prime Minister Monti and his government are bringing to the challenges confronting the Italian people, and in the Italian people themselves. So it is with great personal pleasure that I welcome you back, Minister.

FOREIGN MINISTER TERZI: Thank you very much, Secretary. It’s a great pleasure. It’s an honor to be seen here at State Department. And I believe that we are going to have a very interesting conversation about political issues, which are a common concern to both our countries and where we are involved.

You know, Madam Secretary, that we are particularly engaged in Mediterranean issues, especially developments in the societies which are leaning towards, we hope, democratic institutions and which are reaffirming the sense of the Arab Spring, but we are also concerned about developments in Syria and Iran. And that is something where we should have a common purpose and a common understanding on how to proceed. So I thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I look forward to our conversation.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

PRN: 2012/193