Executive Intelligence Review


Trump and Italy’s Conte Agree on Russia Dialogue; Trump Says He Is ‘Open To Meet with Iran’

July 30, 2018 (EIRNS)—At their joint White House press conference this afternoon, U.S. President Donald Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made clear they had established a friendship and a collaborative relationship on a number of key issues even while not agreeing on every detail of them. The President described Conte as “my new friend ... we got along right from the beginning.” He emphasized that “we’re both outsiders,” and that each feels a responsibility to the citizens who elected them. He extended his warm congratulations to Conte on his becoming Prime Minister.

On such strategic issues as relations with Russia, Conte stressed that he favors dialogue, which he also said was fundamental between the U.S. and Russia. Russia is a key player internationally and geopolitically, he affirmed, and while lifting sanctions is contingent on implementation of the Minsk agreements, sanctions can’t be the last word. Trump was more adamant. “Sanctions will remain.”

Trump said of Iran, when asked by a reporter whether he would meet with President Hassan Rouhani to help ease tensions with that country, Trump replied “I’ll meet with anyone,” especially when issues of war and death are at stake. Look at what happened as a result of meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, he said. And, “I had a great meeting with Putin, in terms of the future and safety. I believe in meeting.” He emphasized that he would meet with Iran anyplace, anytime, “with no preconditions.” If a new, meaningful agreement can be worked out with Iran, all the better, he stated.

The two leaders stressed they intended to collaborate in the Mediterranean region and in efforts to stabilize Libya. The leadership roles of both Italy and the U.S. are crucial, the President said. Both men said there had to be major changes in immigration policies for their respective countries: Trump said he’d be willing to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t deliver immigration policy changes and necessary funding; and Conte emphasized that Italy alone cannot bear the brunt of immigration flows coming from North Africa. He announced he will soon convene a conference on Libya, including all stakeholders and economic interests, to discuss strategies for stabilizing the country, respecting the rights of its people, to bring it to the point where elections can be held “in conditions of total stability.” He didn’t elaborate on the exact nature of U.S. collaboration in this effort.

The LaRouche Political Action Committee welcomed the Italian head of government to Washington, at a rally near the White House, brandishing a highly visible banner reading “Benvenuto Prime Minister Conte! Go Glass-Steagall! LaRouchePAC.”