Marines with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit unload MREs for humanitarian aid and for Marine use in Grand Goave, Haiti, January 23, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Italy will be asked to provide its expert advice as Haiti continues its recovery from a devastating earthquake, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
"As we know, Italy suffered its own tragic earthquake last year, and the Italian people have opened their hearts in solidarity," Clinton said during a joint appearance Monday in Washington with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. "We discussed how difficult this endeavor is in a country without the infrastructure and the capacity that we take for granted in countries like ours. But we will look to Italy for technical advice and assistance as we move forward for the longer term."
Frattini said Italy recognizes the U.S. effort to provide assistance to Haiti, saying he looked forward to working with the U.S. military on some aspects of the relief effort.
"Italy was among the first countries helping and contributing in a framework of international coordination," he said. "We are sending a military boat that is coming to Haiti ... which is bringing helicopters and the first Carabinieris team, a special (police) unit to contribute, to guarantee public order and security on the ground."
The two also discussed their shared commitment to Afghanistan, Clinton said.
"The United States appreciates Italy's leadership in our refocused mission and we especially are grateful for the increased troop commitment that Italy has announced," Clinton said.
Clinton said she and Frattini would attend an international conference on Afghanistan later this week in London, where "we will be looking for the gradual ability of the Afghans themselves to assume the security responsibility and assist in the development of their own country."
"Italy is on board on training police, on contributing to local development, in dealing with cross-border issues, and working together with partners ... on transition of powers to Afghanistan's authorities," Frattini said.