ITALY WILL no longer participate in NATO counter piracy operations or to embark on missions to protect merchant ships from attack, reported the Italian Defence Minister, Roberta Pinotti.
The defence minister made the remarks during an appearance before the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
“We intend to end the presence of core military protection on board merchant ships,” Pinotti said.
He also explained that Italy has decided to end its participation in anti-piracy missions of NATO, “considering the decline in pirate attacks” and “increasingly widespread defence equipment through the use of private security companies”.
The Italian minister also mentioned “the deteriorating situation in Libya” to indicate that this was the reason that Italy “has called a temporary halt to the national presence” in the Libyan state.
However, he said, Italy “is poised to play an important role” and contribute “any initiative to launch the international community” to achieve stability and peace in the country.
Italy has strengthened, however, the military presence in the Mediterranean Sea.
“Following the worsening of the terrorist threat, also evidenced by the events in Tunisia yesterday, it was considered necessary to strengthen the naval vessels deployed in the Mediterranean,” he said.
It is an initiative that has the “aim of protecting national interests, exposed to increasing risks identified by the presence of extremist organisations and ensure consistent levels of maritime safety,” he said.
Re-used with the kind permission of OCEANUSLive.org