Trump gets chummy with Italy’s new boss

Talks trade, NATO and im­mi­gra­tion

The Province - - NEWS | WORLD - KEN THOMAS

WASH­ING­TON — U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump en­dorsed Italy’s han­dling of im­mi­gra­tion is­sues on Mon­day as he wel­comed the coun­try’s new prime min­is­ter to the White House for talks on trade and the mil­i­tary.

Trump said at the start of his meet­ing with Italy’s Giuseppe Conte that the coun­try’s new pop­ulist gov­ern­ment “has taken a very firm stance on the bor­der.”

The pres­i­dent said other Euro­pean coun­tries should fol­low Italy’s lead on mi­gra­tion is­sues. “I agree very much (with) what you’re do­ing with re­spect to mi­gra­tion, il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and even le­gal im­mi­gra­tion,” Trump told Conte in the Oval Of­fice.

Italy un­der Conte’s new gov­ern­ment has pushed for the Euro­pean Union to ac­cept tens of thou­sands of mi­grants com­ing across the Mediter­ranean Sea ev­ery year.

The two lead­ers were ad­dress­ing re­porters Mon­day in a joint news con­fer­ence.

Conte leads the eu­roskep­tic coali­tion of the 5-Star Move­ment, which con­sid­ers it­self anti-es­tab­lish­ment, and the right-wing, north-based League party.

Trump noted the U.S. trade deficit with Italy, a mem­ber of the EU, and said he was cer­tain “we’ll straighten that out pretty quickly.”

The White House has noted that Italy is an im­por­tant NATO ally and a key part­ner to U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Conte, in brief re­marks, thanked Trump for his “warm hos­pi­tal­ity.” Trump told him “you’ll al­ways be treated warmly.”

— GETTY IM­AGES

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, right, and Italy’s PM, Giuseppe Conte, yes­ter­day in Wash­ing­ton.

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