Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper met with Italy’s Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini today at the Pentagon to discuss issues of mutual interest including ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, instability in Libya, and efforts to counter ISIS around the globe.
The leaders underscored the importance of both NATO and coalition operations and Secretary Esper thanked the Italians for their robust contributions to and leadership in coalition operations. Secretary Esper also expressed appreciation for Italy’s hosting more than 34,000 U.S. military members, civilians and dependents on Italian bases. and urged Italy to continue progress toward meeting NATO defense spending goals.
Both countries recognized the destabilizing influence of Iran in the Middle East and agreed to continue to work together to curb Iran’s increasingly disruptive activities.
Secretary Esper expressed appreciation for Italy and all it does to maintain security and stability in the region and beyond. Together the ministers affirmed the close U.S.-Italian defense relationship based on mutual respect and shared values.
Department of Defense Press Secretary Alyssa Farah provided the following readout