Commander General, honourable speakers and guests, I am honoured to greet the organizers and participants to this important seminar on behalf of the Italian government, the Minister of Defense and myself. My heartiest greetings to the representatives of several allied countries, and in particular to the delegates of the Armed Forces of those Nations that are sharing the MSU experience with our Carabinieri. It is now over 10 years that Italy is present with its forces in the most important operational theatres, where civil wars, terrorism, violence and power abuse require the direct commitment of the international community to re-establish law and order and more acceptable conditions of civil co-habitation.
The above in view of the serious crises started in the recent ’90s from where Italy has never withdrawn, but conversely, has increased its commitment acquiring indisputable merits for our country. The Italian participation to international missions stemmed from an urge for humanitarian valour and from the awareness of having to respond to a global threat to world peace and security, that is against universal values that cannot be defended by one or just a few countries. Our choices were also motivated by the deep awareness that at present we have to play a strong and decisive role, equal to the value of our culture, our history, our civilization. We are convinced that we are obeying moral and ethical principles in which the great majority of the Italian people identify. By offering a qualified contribution we want to positively affect the gradual establishment of a universal system of relations inspired by reasons of security as the necessary condition to guarantee opportunities of civil and economic progress to everyone.
Our commitment complies with the political tradition of a republican Italy, never spectator, but always protagonist in the alliances of the free world, in the building of Europe and in the fight against terrorism. Italy readily adhered to the demands of international organizations, guaranteeing a remarkably consistent and qualitatively high profile contribution. However, our Armed Forces, which in all their components have carried out and continue to carry out their tasks, were demanded even more complex performances. In fact, our military men were tasked to guarantee a pacifying presence apt to discipline the rules of co-habitation and the respect of legality. Indeed, a commitment aiming at solidarity and security as the presupposition of our country’s more articulated presence in those theatres, accompanied by an economic initiative and voluntary work. We may state without doubt that these objectives have been pursued and for the most part achieved by our soldiers who in recent years have been acknowledged great appreciation.
However, even in the context of strictly military activities, Italy has succeeded in highlighting its acknowledged originality. The Carabinieri that played an absolutely peculiar role creating, organizing and perfecting the MSUs, of which the Corps is the prevailing part, are an example of this. Multinational Specialized Units actually gained ground because the “Carabinieri model”, that is Armed Force and police force jointly, proved particularly suitable in situations requiring a military intervention linked to the population, where the necessary operativeness better responds to the territory control training criteria of a police force. Thus, a very modern and efficacious model that may be winning in many situations where civil co-habitation is seriously jeopardized and where the danger is not on the battle field but among the people, in the heart of the city, and manifests in subtle and often changeable forms.
This seminar is therefore extremely timely and aims at spreading the knowledge of an organizational and employment formula whose approach and establishment is due to Italy. Congratulations therefore to the Carabinieri Corps that has once again proved capable of giving a highly qualified contribution, acknowledged by the populations that benefit from it in terms of security and appreciated by the States and International Organizations, first and foremost the United Nations that are always a reference point for the Italian commitment. This is what I wish to highlight considering that, with reference to the Iraqi context, certain sectors of the opposition want us to withdraw. They ignore, whether they want it or not, that Italy is in Iraq within a UNO resolution inviting all states to participate in the multinational force, led by the Americans, aiming at restoring conditions of stability and security.
Frankly, I do not understand how withdrawal and isolation can bee compatible with a serious and efficacious fight against terrorism. A more direct commitment of the UNO will not be able to reduce the level of a military presence without reducing our responsibilities. The history of Italy is recent and marked by the sacrifice of many men in uniform, magistrates, officials, simple citizens; this has strengthened the State and its democratic institutions. Altogether we have defeated a criminal and destabilizing terrorism, desperate sectors of which are still alive. The conquered awareness of our history, together with the respect for those who have died for our country and the results of decades of commitment by the Armed Forces, makes us strong and well set on the path taken.
The Italian government that I represent intends to confirm the engagements undertaken; to carry on this commitment means avoiding yielding to the reluctance that inspires some minorities. Maintaining this commitment means interpreting in the best possible manner the aspirations of the Italians that some months ago gathered in sorrow near the soldiers who died for their country who we wish to honour with unswerving firmness in our battle against terrorism and barbarousness. Before them and their loved ones we swore that we would never allow the nullification of this sacrifice. It is with these sentiments, on behalf of the government, that I renew our appreciation of the Armed Forces and the Carabinieri Corps while addressing the participants to this seminar and wishing everyone all the best in carrying out a good job with the certainty that by comparing surveys and experiences new qualified indications may arise for the construction of a peaceful and fair world.
(*) - Transcript from an audio recording corrected by the author.
(**) - Defense Undersecretary of State.