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British and Italian foreign and defence ministers meet in Rome

A meeting was held today in Rome between Antonio Tajani, the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Guido Crosetto, the Italian Minister of Defence; Ben Wallace, the British Secretary of State for Defence; and James Cleverly, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Commonwealth and Development.

The meeting highlights the UK and Italy’s friendship, shared values and aligned perception of security challenges, as well as a mutual desire for even greater collaboration in Europe and within the Atlantic Alliance.

This approach was confirmed during the bilateral meeting between Crosetto and Wallace, which followed their meeting on 30 November last year on board the ship Duilio. During their discussion they renewed a statement of intent signed in 2018, which formalised the intention for closer and stronger bilateral cooperation in security and defence, as well as greater bilateral strategic collaboration. They also confirmed their continued support for Kyiv.

The topics discussed in the meeting included the southern and eastern flanks of the Alliance, Libya, and bilateral and industrial cooperation.

All four ministers then met at Villa Madama. The topics discussed included bilateral and industrial cooperation, the expanded Mediterranean, Africa, Ukraine, defence and all-round security.

The ministers formalised their desire to take broader, more coordinated action in order to consolidate strategic collaboration and strengthen security, saying: “In a world this big our countries must continue cooperating, as they do, for example, in NATO and to support Ukraine. Our cooperation should not only be political but should also take into account human needs, technology and trade. This is the only way to ensure a safer world for our children.”

The decision was made to further broaden cooperation between the UK and Italy, in light of the both countries’ excellence in the fields of aerospace and cybersecurity. They are already collaborating, together with Japan, on the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), which aims to create a sixth-generation combat aircraft.

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