DoD Secretary Hagel meets with Italian counterpart

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Italian Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti at the Pentagon on Friday to discuss partnership, promoting regional stability and contributing toward the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

Hagel praised Italy's leadership in the promotion of regional security and stability in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean region. He lauded Italy for offering a port to load Syrian chemical materials between the Danish vessel Ark Futura and the U.S. vessel Cape Ray. Hagel said the offer made Italy a significant contributor to destroying Syria's chemical weapons materials.

Hagel and Pinotti discussed the strong partnership between Italy and the U.S., particularly in the areas of security and defense. Hagel thanked Pinotti for Italy's hosting of U.S. forces and for the country's cooperation and flexibility to address regional crises. He also expressed his appreciation for Italy's contributions in international coalition operations in the Middle East, the Balkans and Afghanistan.

The secretary and minister discussed the need to continue investment in defense and capability, particularly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Pinotti talked about Italy's review of its armed forces and defense investments, and Hagel encouraged a level of investment and ambition that would allow Italy to continue its strong leadership and security contributions.