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Obama speaks to Italian PM

President Barack Obama, pictured in the Oval Office, May 20, 2013
US President Barack Obama, pictured in the Oval Office, May 20, 2013, called new Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, to congratulate him after taking office after a prolonged period of political uncertainty

US President Barack Obama called new Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, to congratulate him after taking office after a prolonged period of political uncertainty.

"The president expressed support for Prime Minister Letta's focus on reducing youth unemployment and looked forward to further discussions about promoting economic growth at the June G8 Summit," a White House statement said.

"The two leaders also discussed, as allies and as friends, mutual cooperation on North African security and addressing the conflict in Syria, and they affirmed their mutual support for moving forward with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership."

Obama and Letta are due to meet with other leaders of developed states at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, when issues including Europe's debt woes and the slaughter in Syria will be high on the agenda.

Letta was sworn in at the head of a coalition government last month.

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