U.S. President Donald Trump said he’s open to talks with Iran’s leaders without preconditions.
He made the comments in a joint news conference with Italy’s prime minister. CGTN’s Nathan King reported from the White House.
Italian-U.S. relations was the agenda as both men sat down to talk, but it was the U.S. offer to talk with Iran that made the headlines from this summit.
“They want to meet, I’ll meet. Any time they want. Any time they want. It’s good for the country. Good for them, good for us, and good for the world. No preconditions,” U.S. President Donald Trump said.
Trump’s offer, swiftly rebuffed by Tehran, came a week before financial sanctions are set to be reimposed on Iran, following Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
The opening also came just a week after a confrontational Tweet from the U.S. president, threatening possible military action. Parallels were being drawn to the ‘maximum pressure’ approach Trump used towards Pyongyang before finally meeting DPRK leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
Italian-U.S. relations were far more cordial, however. Giuseppe Conte is the head of a new populist government in Italy. Like Trump, Conte wants stricter immigration controls as well as deeper engagement with Russia. Both men backed each other’s positions. “I applaud the prime minister for his bold leadership,” Trump said. “Italy is favorable to a dialogue with Russia…so we can have positive results from a more global perspective for stability and security purposes,” Conte explained.
Both Trump and Conte said sanctions against Russia will remain, at least for now, but on issue after issue, Conte praised Trump’s approach, suggesting Rome is now closer to Washington than it is to Paris and Berlin.
Italy and the U.S. still have differences when it comes to trade and competing for economic interests, but the goodwill shown by both men for each other suggested an evolving partnership that could also have profound effects on the politics of the European Union.