(AFP) – Jan 21, 2008
ROME (AFP) — Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi will meet US President George W. Bush next month during his first visit to Washington since taking office almost two years ago, his press department announced Monday.
Prodi will arrive on February 3 and leave the US capital after his meeting with Bush the following day, one of his advisors said.
Both leaders held talks in Rome in June after tense relations improved notably over Washington's demand that Italy step up its troop engagement in Afghanistan.
Italian trials of a US soldier and CIA agents also weighed on relations between the two allies.
In October a Rome judge threw out the case against the soldier for killing a top Italian intelligence agent in Iraq in March 2005, saying Italy lacked the necessary jurisdiction.
Specialist Mario Lozano went gone on trial in absentia in April, accused of "voluntary homicide" over the shooting of Nicola Calipari, deputy director of Italian military intelligence, near Baghdad airport.
Calipari, who had just freed left-wing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena from kidnappers, shielded her during the hail of gunfire unleashed on their car from a mobile checkpoint.
Sgrena, who was seriously wounded, was suing for damages at the trial.
A US probe exonerated Lozano.
A court in Milan also adjourned the trial of 25 CIA agents and a US air force colonel accused of kidnapping an Egyptian terrorism suspect.
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