In troubled times we know who our friends are and I think our nations have shown that they can rely on each other more than anyone thought.”
So the premier Giorgia Meloni in the meeting in the Oval Office with Joe Biden. “Our relationships are historically strong, outlast governments and remain strong regardless of political color.” So Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in the Oval Office with US President Joe Biden.
Don’t leave the Mediterranean area uncovered anymore. And that Africa which, on the other hand, has great potential to develop, not only to stop the increasingly impetuous wave of migrants. And how to free oneself from the grip of the memorandum on the Silk Road, because relations with Beijing are “essential” but equally “dangerous”, stressed the United States. These are two fundamental topics discussed, together with the Ukrainian question, during the meeting between Joe Biden and Giorgia Meloni in the White House. The two leaders finally meet in the Oval Office. In addition to reaffirming the excellent relations between Italy and the United States and confirming their common commitment to Kiev, they address the dossiers considered “strategic” by both sides.
Curiosity for the first Italian female and right-wing prime minister to set foot in the White House is high. Even the American press is asking for information and details on the young Italian leader at the head of the most right-wing executive in Republican history, as the US media underline. And he complains – as often happens in Italy too to tell the truth – the absence of a press conference. During the press briefing with administration spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, a reporter asked if it had been a decision by the United States not to hold the press conference “since the premier will hold a point with the Italian press at the Washington embassy “. She jean-pierre replied that she was not involved in the organization of the meeting which was dealt with by the National Security Council led by Jake Sullivan. The heat is suffocating and humid, like that of Rome in recent days.
Even Biden, as the Italian government has just done, is preparing to launch an extraordinary plan against the extreme conditions of this summer. The state of relations between Italy and the US is “incredible”, the premier said in the morning after meeting representatives of the Senate and the House on Capitol Hill. Bipartisan talks, in which Meloni illustrated Italy’s attention and strategy for the global South, with Africa at the center which will also be the leitmotif of the Italian-led G7. Food security is also a topic that Meloni puts on the table, in the same hours in which Vladimir Putin meets African leaders in St. Petersburg for the Russia-Africa summit, promising them the grain that will no longer arrive from Ukraine.
“With this prime minister and her vision, the relationship between the USA and Italy can only strengthen” praises the speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, who recalls her partly Italian origins and reports the impressions of Republicans and Democrats after the chat with the Italian premier: “She is one of the leaders who impressed us the most. A leader who looks ahead”, he adds flatteringly. She says she is “proud” of the contribution that Italians have made to American history, and honored to be “at the heart of democracy”. You underline that the link between Rome and Washington has become even closer after the Russian aggression on Ukraine and urged to continue supporting Kiev.
“The West is united” to defend “a world based on rules”, he repeated on Capitol Hill – where some crunches are beginning to be made on the posture to take on war – reiterating that otherwise there would be “chaos”, in which ” whoever is militarily stronger can invade his neighbour. It is not the world we want to live in, we want to live in a world in which freedom and sovereignty are respected”. If there is total harmony with Kiev, relations with Beijing are more complex.
The question is sensitive: the “benefits” of greater “transatlantic coordination with respect to China”, the Americans repeatedly underline, are the subject of the bilateral agreement at the White House, while Italy is evaluating possible ways out of the Belt and Road Initiative, after being the only G7 country to enter into an agreement in 2019. Each step has a weight, and a price (it is seen as a the agreement signed by ENAV just yesterday with the Taiwanese air navigation service provider Anws is also a sign of an imminent disengagement from the Chinese). Between now and the autumn it will be necessary to say whether the intention is to exit the agreement. The government will take all the time to make any farewell as soft as possible, which in any case would not mean the end of the intense economic relations between the two countries. And in the meantime Meloni is looking for US support above all to ward off any Chinese retaliation. He explicitly collects it from the Republican McCarthy for his “effort to counter the growing aggression from communist China”.