Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 01, 2011 14:59 ET

Associate Minister of National Defence Fantino and Italian Secretary of State Crosetto Reaffirm Commitments to International Security in Rome

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 1, 2011) - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, and Italian Secretary of State for Defence, the Honourable Guido Crosetto, today reaffirmed Canada and Italy's bilateral defence relationship. Italy is an important Canadian ally in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with common defence priorities including the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program and participation in the ongoing NATO-led air campaign in Libya and training mission in Afghanistan.

"Canada and Italy continue to be important allies in fulfilling our mutual defence and security commitments," said Associate Minister Fantino. "Our strong relationship with our NATO allies helps improve our work to protect our common values and way of life."

Associate Minister Fantino and Secretary of State Crosetto discussed Canada and Italy's contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and NATO's Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR in Libya.

"Our meeting was an important opportunity for me to express, on behalf of all Canadians, our country's deep appreciation for the support Italy has committed to Canada's contributions to NATO's ongoing missions in Libya and Afghanistan," said Associate Minister Fantino. "As Minister MacKay said during his visit to Naples last month, the hard work being carried out by our Canadian Forces personnel represents Canada's continuing commitment to international security and cooperation."

Also discussed was our countries' commitment to the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program, an important procurement priority for Canada and Italy. The JSF has nine international partners, including Canada and Italy, who began their involvement in the program over ten years ago.

"Our countries agree that our investments in the multinational F-35 program are the best choice to give our air forces the equipment they require to protect our interests well into this century," said Associate Minister Fantino. "A few months ago, no one could have predicted that the Canadian Forces would be flying over the skies of Libya to protect civilians. This reminds us that our air forces must be prepared with the best equipment necessary to deal with circumstances as they emerge."

Associate Minister Fantino, who immigrated to Canada from Italy in 1953, also brought greetings on behalf of approximately 1.45 million Italian-Canadians living in Canada.

"As a proud member of Canada's Italian-Canadian community, I am greatly encouraged by the level of cooperation and goodwill that exists between our two countries," said Associate Minister Fantino. "Canada's cultural ties to nations around the world are symbolic of the diversity of experience that has built the great country in which we live. They strengthen our role to participate in international partnerships that help promote democratic values throughout the world."

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