Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni
(As delivered - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg)<!IoRangePreExecute>
Prime Minister Meloni,
Thank you so much for welcoming me to Rome. And it’s always great to be back here.
Many congratulations to you on your appointment as Prime Minister of Italy.
I look forward to working closely with you. And I also welcome your strong personal commitment to NATO, to our transatlantic Alliance between North America and Europe.
And it is important that we work closely together, especially at this critical moment for our security.
Italy is one of the founding members of our Alliance.
And you play a key role in the NATO Alliance.
European security is being challenged.
President Putin is waging a brutal war of aggression against Ukraine.
But we have seen how the Ukrainian armed forces have been able to push back Russian forces and liberate territory.
These gains belong to the brave, courageous soldiers of Ukraine.
At the same time, the unprecedented support that NATO Allies, including Italy, has provided is making a difference on the battlefield every day and remains vital for the Ukrainian progress.
We have taken note of the Russian announcement to retreat from Kherson. We have to see how the situation on the ground develops in the coming days.
But what is clear is that Russia is under heavy pressure. And if they leave Kherson, it would be another victory for Ukraine.
Italy stands shoulder-to-shoulder with other Allies to keep the peace in Europe, and to support Ukraine. For as long as it takes.
Italy leads NATO’s new multinational battlegroup in Bulgaria.
And your troops serve with NATO forces in Latvia.
Italian jets keep the skies safe with NATO Air Policing, from the Black Sea to the High North.
Your ships are part of NATO’s patrols in the Mediterranean and beyond.
And you provide the commander of our KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, building stability in the Western Balkans.
And an Italian commander leads NATO’s training mission in Iraq, helping Iraqi forces counter terrorism.
Italy also hosts many important NATO facilities.
Including Joint Force Command in Naples,
And our Alliance Ground Surveillance Force in Sigonella.
I welcome the important contributions Italy is making to help Ukraine uphold its right to self defence.
You have given hundreds of millions of euros' worth of humanitarian and financial support to Ukraine.
Today in our meeting, we also discussed challenges coming from the south.
NATO is vigilant.
With our Sea Guardian operation we regularly are patrolling in the Mediterranean.
A mission to help counter illegal migration in the Aegean.
And capacity-building for our partners in the Middle East and North Africa.
In a more dangerous world and more unpredictable world, it is essential that all Allies continue to invest in defence.
So Prime Minister Meloni, dear Giorgia,
Thank you for your strong commitment to our transatlantic Alliance.
Italy can always count on NATO, and I know NATO can always count on Italy.
So thank you so much.