Italian International Defense Missions: An Update from Defense Minister Pinotti


2015-03-24 The Italian military provides an important capability for Italy to respond to international crises but which are under pressure from economic stringencies.

In testimony before the Italian parliament, Italian Defense Minister Pinotti highlighted the Italian efforts.

According to a story on the Italian Ministry of Defence website published on March 19, 2015, her testimony was highlighted.

Minister Pinotti testified before the Joint Senate and Lower House Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee today on the state of current missions and international aid aimed at supporting peace establishment and stabilization.

A minute’s silence in memory of the victims of yesterday’s Tunis terrorist attack opened the Parliamentary Hearing

Enhanced air and naval posture in the Mediterranean Sea, suspension of Italian activities in Libya, end of the employment of Vessel Protection Detachments onboard Italian merchant vessels and of Italy’s participation in NATO Operation Ocean Shield.

These were some of the main developments illustrated by Minister Pinotti during the Parliamentary hearing on International Missions.

Having underscored that North Africa is “our priority concern”, the Minister dwelt on yesterday’s attack in Tunisia: Given the escalation of terrorist threats, the need emerged to strengthen our air and naval posture in the Central Mediterranean area,  to protect our different national interests which today  are exposed  to growing risks originating from the presence of terrorist organizations, and ensure consistent levels of maritime security.

Italian Defense Minister

All these aspects are integrated within the framework of operation Safe Seas.

Faced with the gradual worsening of the security scenario in Libya, and continued institutional chaos, Minister Pinotti announced that our activities on the Libyan territory are suspended, adding that Italy is ready to play a prominent role within the framework of a possible future initiative of the international community aimed at stabilizing and reconstructing institutions in Libya.

As she testified about the ISIS threat in Libya and in the Near and Middle East region, the Defence Minister highlighted that the international community, including a large number of  Arab and Islamic countries, is working to contain ISIS expansion in both Iraq and Syria.

While confirming the size of the Italian commitment in the Anti-ISIS Coalition – 525 military during the first 9 months of the year- the Minister made an announcement: “We are in the initial planning stage to contribute a Carabinieri Corps contingent whose task could be to supervise, with a leadership role, the establishment of Iraqi Military Police units.”

As regards the arc of crisis in Eastern Europe, Roberta Pinotti explained that the international community is actively engaged in managing the crisis, by both facilitating diplomatic negotiations between the parties and working to contain the conflict. Also in this case, Italy is playing its part, she added, and explained that we have taken over air policing activities in the Balkans –conducted on a rotational basis by NATO countries-  since last January, having committed seven aircraft.

Regarding our presence in Afghanistan, the Minister explained that NATO Resolute Support Mission will be completed by the end of 2015: We will significantly reduce our presence over the second part of the year.

Italian commitment in the fight against piracy will also change. Italy will continue  to be part of Operation Atalanta, but it will stop providing Vessel Protection Detachments for embarkation on Italy-flagged merchant vessels, as well as Italy’s participation in NATO Operation Ocean Shield.  The decision was taken considering the recent positive trend showing a significant decrease in  pirate attacks, as well as the finalization of  merchant vessels’ defense  procedures. The Government – the Minister said- acknowledged the last Parliamentary decisions, in particular as regards the request to re-asses our participation in counter-piracy activities on the basis of developments in the issue of the two Italian marines detained in India.

Italy’s commitment in various missions will be reduced or suspended,  in line with announcements made to the Parliament in September 2014, aimed at rationalizing expenditures.