U.S. President Barack Obama has welcomed Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to the White House, hosting the final official state visit by a foreign leader of his presidency.
The Italian leader and his wife were greeted Tuesday on the lawn of the White House with, as is the custom, full military honor honors, as invited groups of Italian Americans looked on.
"When it comes to Italy and the United States, the underlying conditions could not be more clear. We are united not only by our interests but by our values. By our love of liberty, by our commitment to the dignity of every human being. Which is why I can say without hesitation that Italy is one of our strongest allies and our closest friends." Obama said.
In his remarks, Renzi gave Obama credit for turning around a country "hit by crisis:"
"Day after day, you made changes that have improved lives, helped the environment and create opportunities for poor people. I think there a lot of people who think that politics is only about screaming, fighting each other, hate, create division. You are different, Mr. President, we are different," he said.
Following the ceremony, the two leaders held bilateral talks in the Oval Office.