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Biden hails Italian PM’s Ukraine stance as US aid fears mount

Messenger Online

Published: 14:33, 2 March 2024

Biden hails Italian PM’s Ukraine stance as US aid fears mount

President Joe Biden. Photo : Collected

President Joe Biden hailed Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's "unwavering" support for Ukraine Friday (1 March) , as they held talks overshadowed by worries about the future of US aid for Kyiv.

Despite their political differences, the far-right Italian leader and the veteran Democrat have had warm relations, particularly because of Meloni's strong stance on Ukraine as it battles Russia's invasion.

"I want to thank you for Italy's unwavering support for Ukraine," Biden, 81, said as he sat with Meloni, 47, in front of a crackling fire in the Oval Office of the White House.

"We have each other's backs -- we also have Ukraine's back," added Biden, who sported socks decorated with Stars and Stripes flags.

Biden sought to reassure Meloni that he was urging Republicans in Congress to stop blocking $60 billion of vital US military assistance for Ukraine.

The impasse has left Kyiv desperately short of weapons as it tries to fight off recent Russian advances, and alarmed Washington's European allies who fear Moscow has further ambitions.

It was Meloni's second visit to the White House, after she came in July last year.

Meloni, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) nations, said Ukraine would be top of the agenda at a leaders' summit in Italy in June.

"We intend first and foremost to reaffirm the rules-based international order defending freedom and giving peace for Ukraine," Meloni said alongside Biden.

Meloni also "emphasized the significance of sustained US support for Ukraine," the White House said in a statement after the meeting.

Biden quipped that he played the song "Georgia on My Mind" by soul great Ray Charles for Giorgia Meloni as she arrived for the meeting.