Donald Trump welcomes Italy's PM Giuseppe Conte to White House

POPULISTS ON PARADE Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte with US President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in June

Conte was chosen to lead the Italian government by the leaders of parties that won March elections: the euro skeptic Five Star Movement and the far-right League party.

President Donald Trump is meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at the White House as the U.S.is kicking off new trade talks with the European Union.

Short also said he believes Trump is being honest about a showdown with Democrats over government funding and Trump's proposed border wall.

Conte has "taken a very firm stance" on immigration, said Trump, who has pursued a "zero tolerance" policy at the U.S. border, a crackdown that led to hundreds of children being separated from parents who crossed into the country from Mexico without papers. Trump says other European countries should follow Italy's lead on migration issues.

Trump welcomed the novice prime minister to the White House with outstretched arms, hailing him as a kindred spirit - a fellow political outsider with an admirably tough line on immigration.

Both Trump and Conte also favour better relations with Russian Federation.

The U.S. president then addressed the reporter's question regarding the Trans Adriatic (TAPI) gas pipeline.

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"Conte aims at getting Trump's support to create a "permanent control room" between Italy and the United States in the Mediterranean on counter-terrorism, security, immigration, and most of all Libya", Ansa news agency reported citing sources from Conte's office.

Two political outsiders, President Donald Trump and Italy's new premier expressed solidarity on migration issues Monday as they showed signs of a fledgling alliance at a time when the USA has dealt with strained relations with European leaders.

Trump, who has faced widespread criticism over his handling of a summit this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that USA sanctions against Russia, which were imposed near the same time as the EU's, also will stay for now.

A second crucial objective of Conte's ongoing visit to Washington would be to shield Italy's agrifood sector from US tariffs, local media also reported on Monday.

The common ground is a rare example of transatlantic cooperation at a time when Trump has strained alliances by imposing tariffs, criticizing the leaders of Germany and Britain, and railing against what he considers freeloading by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies who do not meet targets for defense spending.

But a certain point of disagreement will be Trump's standoff with Iran - and the sanctions that hurt Italian-Iranian commercial relations.

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