07/18/2017: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Italian Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti focused on NATO issues during their meeting at the Pentagon, July 11, 2017.
Video by Chief Petty Officer Alma Paschall
According to an article published on July 12, 2017 on the Italian Ministry of Defence website:
Italy and the United States of America are close friends, bound by their shared commitment in the fight against terrorism and in supporting security at the international level, as stated by .Minister Pinotti and Defense Secretary James Mattis at the end of their meeting at the Pentagon.
“A friendship that the U.S. has shown also in understanding Italy’s current security problems, for example, on NATO’s southern flank.”, Roberta Pinotti said, after offering her condolences for the death of 16 Marines in a plane crash in Mississipi.
The Minister has informed her U.S. counterpart that Italy is ready to contribute to Mosul’s stabilization phase, if required, by training local police forces. Talks also focused on Libya and the migration crisis.
“Italy is going through very complex times, as it is tackling the migration crisis almost by itself. Moreover, we have to be vigilant about threats coming from the south to prevent terror attacks”.
That is why the support of the United States on the southern flank and the ensuing establishment of a NATO hub for the Mediterranean in Naples are so important.
“Italy is an old friend”, Mattis said during the meeting, underscoring Italy’s deep commitment in tackling the migration crisis: “…your country has shown remarkable humanity in its life-saving efforts in the Mediterranean” he concluded.
Furthermore, Mattis thanked Italy for its contribution in Afghanistan and Iraq, within the framework of the global campaign to defeat Isis. Italy may increase the number of its trainers, while maintaining its current commitment of 950 troops.
Italy was among the first countries to join the International Counter-Daesh Coalition(engaged in the U.S.-led mission Inherent Resolve), where it is the second troop contributing country with its national mission Prima Parthica.
Approximately 1,400 Italian military are deployed in Iraq and Kuwait within this framework. The Italian Armed Forces are mainly engaged in training local police forces.
In particular, Secretary Mattis commended the work of the Carabinieri Corps in training the Iraqi Police Forces. He also thanked Minister Pinotti for having agreed to host the next Counter-Daesh Coalition Small Ministerial.
During the bilateral meeting the possibility for Italy to extend its contribution by carrying out training activities also in Raqqa, shoult the political situation change, was also briefly discussed.