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Blinken Thanks Italy's Di Maio for Rome's Support for Transit of Afghans

© REUTERS / Brendan Smialowski/PoolU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken leaves after speaking about refugee programs for Afghans who aided the U.S. during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, U.S. August 2, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken leaves after speaking about refugee programs for Afghans who aided the U.S. during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, U.S. August 2, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.10.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US State Secretary Antony Blinken has thanked Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio for Rome's support in the temporary transit of thousands of Afghans via the Sigonella naval base in Italy, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday.
"Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio today in Paris. Secretary Blinken thanked Foreign Minister Di Maio for close coordination on Afghanistan, including Italy’s support for the temporary transit of thousands of Afghans through Naval Air Station Sigonella," Price said.
Blinken and Di Maio also discussed the upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome and touched upon the situation in Ethiopia.
"They expressed shared concern about the political security and humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia, exacerbated by the Government of Ethiopia’s recent expulsion of key UN officials and Eritrea’s ongoing destabilizing military presence in Ethiopia. They also agreed on the importance of promoting stability in the Sahel," Price said.
Sigonella was one of the US bases in Europe which hosted Afghans that the US evacuated, along with Ramstein Air Base in Germany and Naval Station Rota in Spain.
Ethiopia is currently struggling with a protracted internal conflict between government forces and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), a major local political force. Tensions once again flared up in the country's north in November 2020 after the government accused the TPLF of attacking a military base, and launched a counter-operation.
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