Washington, DC (STL.News) – The US Department of State released the following statement:
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo will travel to Rome and Abruzzo, Italy, October 1-3, where he will meet with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio to discuss the importance of Transatlantic unity and our strong and enduring bilateral relationship. The Secretary will also travel to his ancestral home in the Abruzzo region to meet with local leaders and to underscore the close personal ties between our two nations.
THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY ARE CLOSE PARTNERS AND ALLIES
The United States looks forward to continuing the excellent cooperation between our two countries with the new Government of Italy, both as NATO Allies and long-standing economic partners.
Our relationship is deep and enduring. The United States established diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 and reaffirmed them in 1946 when Italy became a republic. We have built a strong partnership based on common values and shared historical and familial bonds.
More than 20 million Americans proudly claim Italian heritage – including the Secretary. Secretary Pompeo is the first Italian-American Secretary of State. His family is from the central, mountainous region of Abruzzo, which he will visit on this trip. Throughout our history, Italian-Americans have enriched the fabric of every aspect of American life.
Italy and the United States share a commitment to the same values – democracy, freedom, free and fair trade, and the rule of law.
SECURITY COOPERATION IS AT THE HEART OF OUR PARTNERSHIP
Italy is a key NATO Ally, a leader and guarantor of security in the international community, and a reliable partner. Italy plays a crucial role in guaranteeing Transatlantic security, particularly in assuring NATO’s southern flank through its presence in Libya and around the world, in Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.
Today’s global challenges underscore the importance of increased and sustained defense investment. We must have the capabilities and the readiness to deploy forces in a timely fashion to be prepared for the threats the Alliance faces, including those from the South. Modern capabilities and ready forces present a strong deterrent posture.
President Trump and Prime Minister Conte announced the U.S.-Italy Strategic Dialogue in July 2018 to address threats to security and stabilization in the Mediterranean region.
Italy is a welcoming host to U.S. military and civilian personnel and their families at five major military bases in Italy, with more than 50 sub-installations. In total, there are more than 30,000 U.S. troops, DOD civilians, and their family members living in Italy – the second largest number in Europe.
Italy hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet in Naples and NATO’s Joint Force Command Naples, in nearby Lago della Patria.
ECONOMIES AND WORKERS BENEFIT FROM OUR CLOSE ECONOMIC & EDUCATIONAL TIES
The United States represents Italy’s largest non-EU export market, and our two-way trade in goods and services amounted to $99 billion last year. This trade, which ranges from consumer goods to agricultural and defense industry products, has spurred collaboration in fields outside the economic realm, including security and space technology.
We have robust direct foreign investment in each other’s country. Italian direct investment in the United States totals $38.6 billion, leading to the creation of 78,200 jobs for Americans. U.S. direct investment in Italy totals $38.5 billion, leading to the creation of 223,500 jobs for Italians. U.S. tech giants in Italy are creating well-paying jobs and providing training for Italian workers.
Italy is the second most popular destination for American study abroad students in the world after the United Kingdom, with more than 35,000 U.S. students studying in Italy each year. Italian students are also increasingly attracted to education exchange programs in the United States. Last year, nearly 6,000 Italians chose to study at a U.S. college or university.
The U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission was established in 1948 and celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018. Since 1948, our two nations have worked together to promote mutual understanding and enhance scholarship through educational exchange.
Each year, the Fulbright Commission awards grants to approximately 75-80 American and Italian students, scholars, and teaching assistants.
Since its inception, approximately 14,000 Italian and American students, teachers, lecturers, and researchers have participated in the Fulbright international exchange program.