Italy's and Australia's foreign ministers on Thursday pledged to continue cooperating in Afghanistan, even as the Australian official has recently criticized European nations for imposing restrictions that limit the effectiveness of the Afghan peacekeeping force.
"As far as Afghanistan is concerned, we appreciate the role that Italy has been playing," Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said after a meeting in Rome with his Italian counterpart, Massimo D'Alema.
"We look forward to continuing cooperation between the Italians and Australians as we wrestle with a fairly difficult environment there," he said.
This week Downer reiterated calls for more firepower from Europe in Afghan peacekeeping operations, saying it was needed to combat an upsurge in Taliban fighting.
"It's tough to expect the Americans, the British, us (Australians), the Canadians ... to do all the hard work in the south," Downer said on Tuesday.