Government’s Report on Italian Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Operations

SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, XVI LEGISLATURE, JOINT MEETING OF THE 3rd COMMISSION (FOREIGN AFFAIRS) AND THE 4th COMMISSION (DEFENCE) OF THE SENATE WITH THE 3rd COMMISSION (FOREIGN AFFAIRS) AND THE 4th COMMISSION (DEFENCE) OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, 13th MEETING, 16 JANUARY 2013.

On 16 January 2013, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Terzi di Sant’Agata, reported before the Parliament on the situation of Italian peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. The Minister commented upon the outbreak of a new round of hostilities in Mali, the situation in Libya and in Syria and considered the role of Italian missions in those countries. Here follow some excerpts from the Minister’s speech:

Mr President […] it is with the greatest pleasure that I am here today, to report before the Parliament on the ongoing efforts of our international missions (peacekeeping missions, military and civil components). […]

During its mandate, this Government has always highlighted that security, stability and economic growth are all intertwined aspects that need to be considered when deciding upon the presence of Italian missions abroad.

The scenario we are facing, including the most recent developments in the Mediterranean and North African Regions, the instability affecting the area from the African Horn countries to Somalia, as well as the Afghan challenges call for no lower guard, rather they require a stable Italian presence abroad to enforce security locally.

Our interventions in conflict areas – and I would like to underline this aspect – are aimed to implement a well-defined conception of peacekeeping, whose main goals (as we shall see during the onset of the transitional phase in Afghanistan) are the support to local civilians, institution building and the fulfillment of military tasks and the overhaul of the local economy.

I would like to point out that financing peace operations is a strategic investment for the benefit of our international credit and our bilateral relationships with the countries we are to assist during their transitional phases.

Turning to consider specific cases, I would like discuss the situation in Mali, as referred to also from President Dini, which represents the most topical problem nowadays […]

I would like to inform the Commissions that the Government’s approach develops along three bases. Firstly, on the political level, the Government confirms its intention to act against the framework of Resolution n. 2085. Such an intervention is bilateral, yet it is to become multinational as it involves a number of African countries as well as other European and Western countries […]

Secondly, in compliance with the actions of other European States, we need to offer logistical support to the operation, with special regard to those African countries for which it proves difficult to transfer their troops on the field. […]

Thirdly, at the special meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council that is to be held tomorrow, I am to underscore the urgent need to launch the Eutm mission: 250 trainers should go to Bamako to foster the creation of a Malian army, since the Malian military force is absolutely inadequate. […]

As to Libya, there were contacts at the highest political levels. […] During those meetings the issue of security was raised a number of times, testing the extent to which Italy is willing to actively contribute to enhance the security level within the country and at the borders and to what extent Italy is available to provide political impetus and sustain Libya’s cooperation with international institutions (United Nations, European Union). […]

With regard to the crisis in Syria, we have responded through international humanitarian interventions particularly aimed at the most vulnerable members of the society (women and children), and endorsing an inclusive approach.

Together with the measures carried out by international institutions, we have promoted other actions aimed at directly assisting the population, especially the most vulnerable groups in the freed Syrian zones where aid may access only with difficulties due to the regime’s opposition. […]

We all feel a great sense of frustration and are stroke by the need to immediately bring such massacres to an end, but the solution of the crisis, once again, cannot but be found on the political level and, in order to promote unity among oppositions, the Italian Government, as you are aware, has recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

The full Italian version of the statement made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs is available at:

http://www.camera.it/_dati/leg16/lavori/stencomm/0304c0304/audiz2/2013/0116_RS/INTERO.pdf

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