Italian prime minister praises Obama over debt deal
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta became the first world leader Thursday to meet President Barack Obama after the end of a debt default showdown and declared: "his success is our success."
Letta told Obama that a stable US economy was vital for the globe, only hours after the US Congress staved off a debt default by agreeing to extend the government's borrowing authority.
After talks in the Oval Office, Letta congratulated Obama for his "success" in ending the latest political drama in Washington to capture the world's attention.
"His success is also our success," Letta told reporters.
"Yesterday's decision was very important for the stability in the markets and the world."
"We need to have low interest rates; yesterday we had the lowest interest rates in Italy for two years," he added. "That was for us a very important achievement."
Obama, meanwhile, hailed Letta's work to stabilize the Italian economy.
The US leader also praised Letta for winning a vote of confidence in parliament earlier this month.
"It is clear that Italy is moving in the right direction in stabilizing its finances and embarking on reforms that will make it more competitive," Obama said.
He also said the two discussed the importance of European growth and, not for the first time, expressed concern at the high rate of youth unemployment in Europe.
"The United States is obviously not part of Europe but we have great interest in Europe," Obama said.
"When Europe is doing well, that means we are doing well also," he added, vowing to work to complete a proposed transatlantic trade agreement in the coming months.
The two leaders also discussed regional security issues including Syria, Libya and Italy's support for NATO operations in Afghanistan.