Mattarella, Obama talk Italy role

In protecting Mosul Dam, helping form Libya govt

(ANSA) - Washington, February 8 - Visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella and United States President Barack Obama discussed Italy's part in the fight against ISIS and the global refugee emergency in talks of over an hour at the White House Monday.
    Obama discussed with Mattarella the role Italy can play in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, in particular "the fundamental role" Italy will play in reinforcing the area of Mosul in northern Iraq, the White House said.
    Obama thanked Italy for protecting the Mosul Dam. Obama said "I thanked Italy very much for its notable contribution in training soldiers in Iraq and for the important role that it will play in protecting the Mosul Dam which is extremely important for the Iraqi people". Italy's Trevi construction group recently landed the contract to repair and maintain the dam which was taken back from ISIS last year.
    Obama said that he and Mattarella also "talked about joint efforts to help Libya form a government that will enable their security forces to stabilise their territory and neutralise ISIS".
    Mattarella said after the talks that "for Libya, via the transatlantic alliance, our collaboration is decisive to make sure the international community resolves the dramatic problems on the table by restoring stability and security".
    Mattarella said that "close transatlantic cooperation enables us today and will enable us to tackle new challenges and defeat the enemies of peace and human rights". Mattarella and Obama discussed the world's main crisis areas, from Syria to Afghanistan and from Iraq to Libya, sources said. Obama said that "ties could not be closer and the collaboration we have on a wide range of problems in the world is extraordinary".
    The US president also said that "we talked at length about the problem of refugees and migrants that has had a terrible impact on Europe and on Italy in particular". He said "for the US this is not just Europe's problem but a global problem that puts pressure on the US and the transatlantic relationship". Obama stressed that NATO and the EU must work together "to dismantle human-trafficking networks".