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    U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis gestures during a press briefing on the campaign to defeat ISIS at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., May 19, 2017

    Mattis Discusses NATO, Middle East With Italian Counterpart

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    US Defense Secretary James Mattis met with his Italian counterpart Roberta Pinotti to discuss NATO and the two countries' joint efforts in Afghanistan and the Middle East, the Department of Defense said in a statement.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Mattis thanked the Italian defense minister for his country's cooperation in addressing security threats in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Africa, the statement said.

    "Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti to discuss the robust US-Italian defense partnership, our cooperation at NATO and our joint efforts in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Libya," the Defense Department stated on Tuesday.

    The US defense chief also praised Italy's leadership in the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and the battle against the terrorist group the Islamic State terror group (banned in Russia), particularly the role the Italian Carabienieri are undertaking to train Iraqi police, the statement added.

    The two leaders also discussed plans for further engagement in their effort to bring stability to Libya, the Defense Department also said.

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    James Mattis, Middle East, Italy, United States
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