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Obama calls Italian PM ahead of NATO summit

(Xinhua)

08:46, May 16, 2012

WASHINGTON, May 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday spoke with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti over the phone on the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, White House said in a statement.

Obama thanked Monti for Italy's "many significant contributions " to NATO, said the White House, adding that the two discussed the transition of security responsibility to the Afghans, and the sustainment of the Afghan security forces.

During the phone call, the two leaders also discussed the ongoing eurozone crisis and agreed on the need to intensify efforts to "promote growth and job creation," according to the White House.

Obama looks forward to discussing these issues with Monti during the upcoming G8 summit at Camp David in Maryland over the weekend, the White House noted.

As part the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Italy currently contributes around 3,800 troops in Afghanistan.

The decade-old war in Afghanistan will dominate the NATO summit in Chicago slated for May 20-21. It is expected to iron out details of an exit strategy from the war-torn country, under which Afghan forces are expected to take the security lead by the end of 2014 when most American and NATO combat troops leave.

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