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Italy-NATO Relations

Italy is one of the 12 founding members of NATO, which was established in 1949 with the Washington Treaty, signed by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom and United States 'America.

Italy has always played a dynamic role in the Alliance, especially during the many crises that characterized the period of the Cold War. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union, Italy has fully supported the enlargement process that has led to the current Alliance membership.

NATO has seen its internal structure and her purposes transformed. The bipolar logic of the Cold War moved to an integrated security concept, not just limited to countries of the Alliance, but to the entire Euro-Atlantic dial. Following this logic, Italy, in 2002, promoted decisively the approach of NATO to Russia, arriving to the institution NRC (NATO-Russia Council) during the summit at Pratica di Mare. Similarly, Italy is strongly committed to strengthen NATO's partnership relations with the countries of the Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and the so-called "Partners across-the -globe", as well as other international organizations (UN, EU, OSCE, ...) on the operations side, Italy - aware of the importance of stability and peace in the Western Balkans - has strongly supported the missions in Bosnia 90s and continues its important commitment in KFOR.

Since 2001, moreover, Italy supported the activities of NATO and the international community at large in Afghanistan, first as part of the ISAF mission in January 2015 as part of the mission Resolute Support. To Italy he has been given command of Herat province and the Regional Command West. In 2011, convinced that the Allied security also passes through the Mediterranean and its riparian countries, Italy has provided a significant contribution, in terms of logistics and operations, the international effort to protect the civilian population in Libya. From Afghanistan Kosovo, Iraq and Libya, through the actions to combat piracy, up to the fight against international terrorism, Italy has never failed to provide its contribution to the main missions and operations of NATO.

The Italians' central concept is that NATO must be the principal forum for transatlantic consultations and political dialogue. To fulfill that role, NATO needs a long-term political strategy that drives its military missions and implements NATO's Strategic Concept. In the Italians' view, a key aspect of that political strategy should be a comprehensive NATO approach to improving security on the alliance's periphery (Mediterranean, Middle East, Balkans, Black Sea/Caucuses, Afghanistan, Central Asia).

By 2004 some Italian officials believed Putin was truly committed to administrative and economic reform, and is working to eliminate remnants of Yeltsin patronage. While interim reorganizations are being handled in an autocratic way, the Italian view was that the eventual outcome would be a closer partnership among Russia, the US and the EU. Italy's priorities included finding better projects for the NATO-Russia Council and between Russia and the EU, and improving Russia's relations with the Catholic church. Having Russia as a NATO member would be Italy's dream come true.

In 2006 the center left's coalition program emphasized the centrality of Italy's relationship with the EU at the apparent expense of the Transatlantic Alliance.

In June 2011 cracks emerged in NATO's air campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as France and Britain rejected an Italian call for a halt to military action in order to allow aid access. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on 21 June 2011 called for a suspension in fighting so aid corridors could be set up to bring supplies to Libya's population, which he said was facing a dramatic humanitarian situation. Frattini's comments drew a swift rebuke from NATO ally France. Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said the coalition must intensify the pressure on Mr. Gadhafi because any pause in operations would allow him to gain time and reorganize. Britain, one of the first countries to support Libya's rebellion along with France, agreed.

Italy said in April 2016 an international force aimed at limiting the number of people sailing from Libya to Europe could be ready by July 2016. Some observers are worried that the number of people arriving in Europe could jump because travel by land through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Most of the new arrivals are migrants. They have fled their home country and chosen to go overseas, usually for economic reasons.

More than 16,000 people sailed from North Africa to Italy in the first three months of 2016. That was almost two times as many as the number who traveled across the Mediterranean during the same period in 2015. The United States has offered to support a proposed naval operation off the coast of Libya. The international force would be under the command of NATO.

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Page last modified: 28-06-2016 14:01:32 ZULU