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“A European Army? NATO is very effective.”  Jack Markle (US ambassador in Rome): “Let’s exploit Russian funds”

“A European Army? NATO is very effective.” Jack Markle (US ambassador in Rome): “Let’s exploit Russian funds”

The days leading up to the G7 are busier than usual for the US ambassador to Italy. Frequent trips between Rome and Washington, with frequent stops in Puglia. For Jacques Markel, appointed by Biden in July 2023, the job has already become complicated in recent months, with several international summits from one side of the peninsula to the other. From Venice to Capri, with summits of foreign ministers, international presidents were invited to discuss the most complex international crises in which, unfortunately, troops have been involved for two years. All preparations, including lengthy ministerial discussions, technical and security documents, pass through Jacques Markel’s offices. Now, with the arrival of Joe Biden at the Borgo Egnazia summit, the focus is on the much-anticipated moment.

Ambassador, the international geopolitical picture has become more complicated since your arrival in Rome. In the wake of the crisis, what role does the US expect Italy to play?

“The United States and Italy have a strong relationship as allies, partners and friends. As Secretary of State Blinken said in Capri, the partnership between the United States and Italy has always been very close. We work together on all important issues on the global agenda. As we approach the G7 in Puglia, Russia I would like to commend Italy for its leadership in supporting Ukraine to defend itself from aggression and for its stance on the conflict in the Middle East.”
G7 in Puglia in a few days: What expectations does the Biden administration have for the leadership of the Meloni government?

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“President Biden and Prime Minister Meloni have an excellent relationship. The United States is ready to continue working together on climate change, economic growth, energy security, migration challenges and artificial intelligence.

Do you think we can find a legal solution that would allow us to seize Russian assets? Could this not become a very dangerous precedent for the global economy?

“At the G7 Finance Ministers’ meeting in Stresa, Treasury Secretary Yellen addressed this important issue with Italian Minister Giorgetti and other G7 colleagues. On that occasion, the EU’s decision to allocate extraordinary profits from frozen Russian sovereign assets for the benefit of Ukraine was welcomed. The US is ready to work on more ambitious options.”

The commemoration of the Normandy landings focused on support for Ukraine. How long can you stay in Kiev?

“The United States will stand by the people of Ukraine until their security, sovereignty, and autonomy are guaranteed. Any attempt at lasting peace must be based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Russia is the only obstacle to peace in Ukraine.”

As we speak, dramatic images from the Middle East are before our eyes: Do you believe that the requested ceasefire will actually be achieved?

“I reiterate that the United States supports the ceasefire. We have expressed our concerns about a large-scale operation in Rafah. We remain committed to a permanent end to the conflict.”

How do you explain the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to have turned a deaf ear to President Biden’s pleas to end the intervention in Rafah?

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“Our negotiations with Israel are ongoing. National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan reaffirmed the need for Israel to combine its military operations with a political strategy that would ensure the defeat of Hamas, the release of all hostages, and a better future for Gaza. We have been very clear about humanitarian aid and the need for a two-state solution.

The United States is facing an election campaign at one of the most critical moments of international crisis. Is there a risk that Washington, particularly Putin’s relations with Russia, will reassert themselves if there is a change in leadership?

“I can’t help but think about the outcome of the US elections. I know, no matter who wins, the relationship between the US and Italy will continue to be strong.

The EU is also going to vote: Do you think the risk of influence from Russia is real?

“Russian disinformation operations are taking place in all our countries. I was in Capri when Blinken and Tajani signed an agreement to cooperate in countering information manipulation. By working closely together, the United States and Italy can effectively meet the challenge.”

As the EU contemplates common security, how does the US view the idea of ​​a European army?

“The United States has always supported a strong, united, free and peaceful Europe. Italy and the United States are the original members of NATO, which have guaranteed the security of our nations for 75 years. It is the most successful, enduring security alliance in history. The bond between Europe and North America based on shared history, values ​​and goals has made this success possible. The reason.”

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US has 6 military bases in Italy: Do you think it is necessary to strengthen the security system in light of repeated threats from the Kremlin?

“I was delighted to visit the Italian communities that provide these structures. We are grateful for all that Italy does to host our troops and their families. We appreciate Italy’s support for security in the Middle East, the Red Sea and around the world. But to face these common challenges, all NATO members must provide the necessary resources to ensure our common security. have to do.”

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