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Cablegate: Ambassador Thorne Presents Credentials To

VZCZCXRO9078
PP RUEHFL RUEHNP
DE RUEHRO #1032 2471600
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041600Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY ROME
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2626
INFO RUEHMIL/AMCONSUL MILAN PRIORITY 0205
RUEHFL/AMCONSUL FLORENCE PRIORITY 3775
RUEHNP/AMCONSUL NAPLES PRIORITY 3984
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ROME 001032

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL OVIP IT
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR THORNE PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO
PRESIDENT NAPOLITANO

1. (U) Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.


2. (SBU) Ambassador David Thorne presented his credentials to
President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano at the
Quirinale Palace, Rome, on September 4. During a
wide-ranging discussion of foreign policy and U.S. domestic
politics, Napolitano stressed repeatedly the importance of
the U.S.-Italy relationship and his admiration for President
Obama. Ambassador Thorne underscored his commitment to
strengthening the bilateral relationship and to working
together with Italy to help address the economic and
political challenges facing the world.

3. (SBU) Noting the role that Ambassador Thorne's father had
played as the Administrator of the Marshall Plan in Italy in
the 1950s, President Napolitano stressed the importance that
U.S. assistance had played in the reconstruction and
stabilization of Italy in the post-war period. Ambassador
Thorne's lifelong personal connection to Italy, he said, will
stand him in good stead over the term of his appointment.
Napolitano reiterated his pleasure in meeting President Obama
just prior to the G8 Summit, and affirmed that the
President's strong voice in foreign affairs had done much to
repair the image of America in the world, an image that had
been eroded by the course U.S. policy had taken after
September 11. Obama's America is dedicated to listening, he
said, not just talking.

4. (SBU) Sounding a theme he has stressed on previous
occasions, Napolitano highlighted the importance of the EU as
a positive force for stability and prosperity not only for
the EU's neighbors to the east, but for the broader region in
general. He praised President Obama for his recognition of
the importance of the EU, and urged that the U.S. not forget
Europe even as our attention is drawn increasingly to the
Middle East, Asia and Africa. Obama's speeches in Cairo and
Istanbul, he noted, had done a great deal to create a new
dynamic in the Middle East and in Europe. Napolitano was
also pleased to learn that Speaker Pelosi would be visiting
Italy September 11-14.

5. (SBU) On the Economic front, Napolitano and the Ambassador
agreed on the importance of the U.S. and Europe working
closely together to bring about a recovery. Napolitano asked
about the health care debate in the U.S., which he has
followed closely, and conveyed his hope that President Obama
will be successful in his attempts to get the reform package
through Congress. The Ambassador agreed that this is one of
the President's most important challenges, and noted that
Senator Kerry has taken up the baton of health care reform
advocacy held for so many years by the late Senator Kennedy.
Napolitano closed by stressing that his door is always open
and that he hoped to see the Ambassador often.

6. (SBU) Comment: President Napolitano showed clearly why he
is so highly regarded in Italian politics. He is a serious,
thoughtful figure, an intellectual eminence grise who exerts
great moral influence from above in an often fractious
Italian political arena. End Comment.
THORNE
"

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