Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio Before Their Meeting

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So I guess we’re both (inaudible).  (Laughter.)  My friend, it’s great to – it’s always great to be with you.  I think the – we’ve seen over the course of this year the partnership between the United States and Italy on virtually every issue has never been stronger, never been more important.  And I know we have a lot to talk about following on some of the conversations that we’ve had already this morning, and I just also wanted to thank you for your wonderful leadership and hospitality during the G20.  I know how much President Biden appreciated it, and we appreciated it as well.  And we have some work to do, as always.  Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER DI MAIO:  Thank you, Tony.  Thank you for your partnership and your friendship, the friendship of the United States.  It’s an honor for us, for countries like Italy.  Our bilateral relations is improving a lot, and during the last year improved thanks to formats like the anti-Daesh global coalition that we held in Rome, the G20, and our collaboration through the G20 to defend – in order to defend our common values and our goals.  We are very sensitive about common goals, like – as climate change, security, our democratic values.

Thank you very much for the Summit of Democracies.  We appreciated a lot your efforts to show toward the world the unity of democracies in the world, and so our values as democracies.  And I would like to personally thank you because the friendship between Italy and U.S. is improving and is increasing a lot thanks to your efforts, Antony.  And you are welcome in Italy when you want, and it will be an honor to host you for any kind of meetings and to plan the next challenges between us, together, in view of the next new normal that we hope will arrive soon, because we are sick of the pandemic, certainly.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, that’s an impossible invitation to resist.  (Laughter.)