WASHINGTON, Apr 20 (Reuters) The United States today said it looked forward to working with Italy's next leader, Romano Prodi, recognizing an election result that outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi still disputes.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said there would soon be an ''official conveyance'' of congratulations to Prodi.
''We look forward to working with Mr. Prodi's government and look forward to working with Mr. Prodi,'' said McCormack. ''This is a broad and deep relationship that extends not only to our governments, but between the Italian and the American people.'' The White House last week held back from congratulating the center-left Prodi, saying the election process was being contested.
President George W Bush has counted Berlusconi as one of his closest allies on the Iraq war and himself won election in 2000 after a bitter recount.
Berlusconi has refused to recognise Prodi's victory, despite the fact it was officially confirmed by Italy's supreme court yesterday.
He argues the vote was so close that further checks are needed.
Prodi won the lower house of parliament by 24,755 votes out of more than 38 million cast.
REUTERS PG PM0151