Obama to meet Italian PM next month

US President Barack Obama will meet Italy`s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Washington next month, the White House said Tuesday.

Obama`s office said they would meet on April 17 to discuss the crisis in Libya and allied pressure on Russia over the situation in Ukraine.

"Italy is a valued NATO ally and partner on a broad range of global challenges," it said, adding that Obama would also address trade.

Italy is a leading member of the eurozone currency bloc and Obama is keen to negotiate a major trans-Atlantic free trade pact.

Renzi`s government also has a frontline role as the western allies confront major crises in Syria and in former Italian colony Libya.

The collapse of recognized government in both Mediterranean states has left space for Islamic State jihadists to seize territory.

The conflicts have also driven a wave of refugees towards Europe, many of them crossing to Italy on rickety and overcrowded boats.