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Obama, Italian PM to Meet at WH        04/17 06:32

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is set to meet with 
President Barack Obama.

   Obama is hosting Renzi at the White House on Friday to compare notes on a 
range of issues, including Ukraine, Libya and Islamic State militants.

   The leaders are also expected to discuss Europe's economy, a pending trade 
pact between the U.S. and Europe, climate change and energy security.

   With Italy mired in a recession, Renzi also comes seeking Obama's support 
for his economic program, though it has yet to significantly improve the 
country's fiscal outlook.

   Obama and Renzi plan to brief reporters at an East Room news conference 
after their Oval Office meeting and before they retire to the Cabinet Room for 
a working lunch.

   Italy also is struggling to manage the unprecedented number of migrants who 
aren't hesitating to make the treacherous boat trip across the Mediterranean to 
flee instability in Libya and other parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

   Police in Sicily reported Thursday that Muslim migrants had thrown 12 
Christians overboard during a recent crossing from Libya, and an aid group said 
another 41 were believed to have drowned in a separate incident. Those 
tragedies followed earlier reports of 400 people presumed dead in the sinking 
of a ship near the Libyan coast.

   The deaths have spurred calls for a more robust search and rescue of the 
waters between Libya and Europe amid the surge in migration between the 
continents.

   Obama and Renzi first met when the president visited Italy last year just 
weeks after the now 40-year-old prime minister took office.


(KA)


 
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