POLITICS

PM Harper, Italian counterpart to talk Syria and trade

09/23/2013 10:47 EDT | Updated 11/23/2013 05:12 EST
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is welcoming his Italian counterpart, Enrico Letta, to Ottawa this morning, and the two are likely to discuss trade between Canada and the European Union, as well as the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Harper and Letta both spoke at a dinner in Toronto on Sunday night that was hosted by the National Congress of Italian Canadians, and will get together more formally Monday for a morning meeting, followed by a working lunch.

Letta will arrive on Parliament Hill shortly after 10 a.m. ET. The two prime ministers will meet in Harper's Parliament Hill office at 10:35 a.m., and CBC News will have live coverage of their press conference at at 11:45 a.m. ET.

Letta, who was elected earlier this year, is on his first visit to Canada. It marks the first official visit of an Italian prime minister since 2001, according to a release from Harper's office. The two leaders last met at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, in June.

Harper and Letta are expected to discuss trade, in particular talks dragging on over a Canada-EU trade agreement. Italy is Canada's 10th largest trading partner, with total exchanges between the two countries amounting to $6.9 billion last year.

They'll also discuss investment and security, including the war in Syria.