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Biden, Meloni meet on Ukraine, Gaza

WASHINGTON, March 1 (KUNA) -- US President Joseph R. Biden welcomed Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to the Oval Office on Friday to continue "close coordination on shared priorities" and discuss the situations in Gaza and Ukraine, according to a White House statement. They exchanged views on Italy's objectives under its G7 presidency, including abiding support for Ukraine, sustainable development, food and energy security, migration, as well as cooperation on artificial intelligence and continued joint efforts in support of the Partnership on Global Infrastructure and Investment. President Biden and Prime Minister Meloni reaffirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine as it fights against Russian aggression.
The President commended Meloni's leadership role in the G7 and European Union to bolster support for Ukraine, and Prime Minister Meloni emphasized the significance of sustained U.S. support for Ukraine. The leaders discussed developments in the Middle East, including the importance of preventing regional escalation. They reaffirmed their commitment to Israel's right to self-defense consistent with international law and underscored the urgent need to increase deliveries of life-saving humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.
President Biden and Prime Minister Meloni discussed the upcoming G7 Leaders' Summit in Puglia and NATO Summit in Washington, underscoring the vitality of the transatlantic relationship and its centrality to addressing global challenges.
Speaking to reporters following the meeting, President Biden said, "Italy and the United States are strong allies and really close friends." "And as you said when we first met here in the Oval, Giorgia, that we have each other's backs. And we do. And you've demonstrated that from the moment you took office," he pointed out.
"And I want to thank you, Giorgia, for Italy's unwavering support for Ukraine and your leadership at the G7 this year," he added.
On her part, Meloni said she looks forward to hosting President Biden in Puglia next June for the G7 Leaders' Summit.
"For in 2023, our bilateral trade reached the highest amount ever with USD 102 billion of exchange. So, I think we did a good job, but I also think that we can do even better. And I hope this will be our mutual goal for this year," the Italian prime minister added. (end) asj.gb