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Biden and Meloni show a united front with Ukraine

The US President, Joe Biden, and the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, meet in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington (USA), on July 27, 2023. BLAZETRENDS/EPA/Yuri Gripas/ Pool

Washington (BLAZETRENDS).- US President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni showed a united front with Ukraine, but avoided entering into the controversial agreement that Italy signed in 2019 with China and that Rome could be seeking now an exit

“I thank the Italian people, I thank you for supporting Ukraine. Your support makes a big difference, ”Biden said at the beginning of his meeting with Meloni in the Oval Office of the White House and before the media.

The US president thanked Meloni for his “strong support” for the Ukrainian government and his denunciation of the “atrocities” that Russia has committed in Ukraine since the invasion began in February 2022.

In response, Meloni said she was “proud” of the role that Italy has assumed in the war in Ukraine and stressed that the country did so because “supporting Ukraine means defending the peaceful coexistence of peoples and states.”

“Although some claim that supporting Ukraine brings us closer to a new world war, that is not true. Those who believe in peace should be the first to support the Ukrainian cause,” the Italian Prime Minister emphasized.

The meeting between Biden and Meloni

The two leaders showed harmony before the cameras and Biden went so far as to say that both have become “friends”.

The Italian government has promoted the visit as an opportunity to raise Meloni’s international profile, while the White House has avoided commenting on the ultra-conservative ideology of the prime minister, who has strong differences with Biden on the rights of the LGTBIQ+ collective or the right to abortion.

In front of the media, the two leaders announced that the meeting would focus on Ukraine, immigration from Africa arriving in Italy, the rotating presidency of the G7 that Italy will assume next year and how to improve trade relations between Both countries.

“We will talk about how to deepen our growing economic connection that has driven more than 100,000 million dollars (about 91,082 million euros) in trade last year. In my opinion, there is no reason why that cannot increase, ”Biden said at the beginning of the meeting.

They omit to talk about China

The two, however, did not make any public comment on Italy’s involvement in China’s infrastructure macro-project, known as the New Silk Road, which Italy joined in March 2019 under the then Italian prime minister’s government. Giuseppe Conte (2018-2021).

Meloni has not yet announced whether it will renew that agreement with China for another five years, which expires in March 2024. However, ending that alliance would lead to trade retaliation from the Asian giant at a time when Italy cannot afford economic setbacks.

Italy has come under pressure to exit that agreement both from the United States, which sees China as its biggest competitor, and from the European Union (EU), which is trying to reduce its dependence on China in several strategic sectors, including technology. .

Meloni is the last of the G7 leaders to meet Biden at the White House.

The prime minister and the US president have met in various international forums, such as the NATO summit in Vilnius in July and the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May, although their only bilateral meeting was in November last year on the sidelines. of the G20 summit in Bali.

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