Pompeo in Italy - talks focus on security and tariffs

Mike Pompeo and Giuseppe Conte. Photo credit: Corriere della Sera

 ROME – Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, arrived in Rome Tuesday and will have an audience with Pope Francis Wednesday.  He has already held talks with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

 Political sources report that security was a focus of the meeting with Conte, with particular attention paid to Huawei’s 5G.  La Stampa reports that US sources have warned that trusting the construction of a 5G network to Huawei would threaten both Italy’s security and that of NATO.

 “I am also the person responsible for the services of State security and the protection of our strategic infrastructure is a thing that stops me sleeping at night,” Conte said, quoted in La Stampa.

 Conte is trying to mediate between American worries about security and Italian businesses’ need to take advantage of the competitive quality and price from China, La Stampa reports.

 The delicate issue of tariffs from the WTO ruling on Airbus has also been raised, political sources report.  Italy hopes to keep such tariffs to a minimum.

 On Wednesday, Pompeo will also meet Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.