Remarks With Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni Before Their Meeting
Secretary of State
SECRETARY KERRY: I’m very, very happy to welcome the newly appointed Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni. We have already met in a couple of places thus far. We had a chance to talk and get to know each other.
But I want to thank him and thank Italy for the tremendous partnership that we have on so many different issues. Italy is right there, working hand in hand, helping not the United States but global aspirations and values that we all share – in Afghanistan, fighting Ebola, helping to stand up and deal with the problem of Ukraine and the work we’ve been doing to stay united and to try to respect the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine.
On Libya, Italy has helped us enormously by acting as our protectorate; in other words, representing us without our embassy there at this time. And we’re grateful for the Italian connection and understanding of Libya and the important contribution they can make to resolving this conflict.
So everywhere you turn on the conflicts of today, including the Middle East peace process, we have a partnership. We are moving in the same direction, and that is the best way to be able to solve some very, very difficult problems. So Paolo, I welcome you.
And my pleasure, by the way, to offer you – I have a little gift here. We have the Milan Expo coming up this year, and we just appointed our commissioner to the Milan Expo. And the theme of the Milan Expo for this year, with maybe 20 million visitors or more, and many, many people taking part through the internet, is food security, global food security in an age of insecurity. And just to make sure that the Italian foreign minister is able to do his part, I have a very special apron for you to wear as you do your own food preparation.
FOREIGN MINISTER GENTILONI: I’ll do it.
SECRETARY KERRY: I know. Yeah, I’m sure you will. (Laughter.) Anyway, very, very happy to have you here. Welcome. We’re delighted to have you. Thanks, Paolo.
FOREIGN MINISTER GENTILONI: Thank you very much, John. Well, thanks, first of all, for your support and American participation to the Milan 2015 Expo, which is dedicated, as you said, to feeding the planet. It will be a global and also very Italian event, and I think it will be a very important thing. Our meetings we confirm the excellent relations between Italy and U.S. in all fields, I should say – economy, culture, and obviously on political and security issues.
I think that these good relations – these excellent relations are very important now that we are facing new challenges as an alliance, especially in Europe, both in our eastern and in our southern borders. And so we need to strengthen even more this cooperation. We will do that, and I’m convinced that the Italian-American friendship will continue to promote peace, democracy, and the human rights. So thank you very much, John.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Paolo.
FOREIGN MINISTER GENTILONI: Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: (In Italian). Grazie.
FOREIGN MINISTER GENTILONI: Grazie.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much. Thank you.