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US, Italy sign training agreement for peacekeeping operations

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Defense Department (DOD) and the national military police of Italy, the Carabinieri, on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding to promote joint training and education for peacekeeping operations.

"I believe this is the first, formal agreement on education and training that the undersecretary of defense of personnel and readiness has ever signed with (Italy's) Carabinieri," said Frank DiGiovanni, director of the DOD's force readiness and strategy.

"This new MOU, (while) old in association, has a very productive objective to promote peace and stability to areas of the world that are under stress," claimed Frederick Vollrath, assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management.

Major General Ilio Ciceri, Italy's chief of staff of the Carabinieri General Headquarters, said the support and position of the United States has been a source of "immense pride" for his country.

"The use of our training and deployment techniques in the theaters of operations has always enjoyed an extraordinary support and appreciation by U.S. commanders and by the highest political authorities and soldiers of your country," he said.

The agreement, which took effect immediately upon signing, done at the Pentagon, will stay valid for five years, according to officials.

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