Italy sees democracy as “a basis for international security and development” because democracies, “more than any other regime or form of government, create the best conditions for economic development and life opportunities for human beings”. Security and development can also resolve conflicts “without recourse to violence”. However, the values of democracy should be promoted through “dialogue, respect and persuasion” – and not imposed. Underlining these points was Minister Franco Frattini, speaking at an international conference organised by the Alliance of Democrats on the subject of “Security, Development and Democracy”.
This approach also holds for Afghanistan. Italy, explained the Minister, has for some time now upheld “the importance of a comprehensive approach that places a growing emphasis on the civil component”. An approach that works on “creating robust institutions, to ensure that they are able to make the democratic process irreversible”. Moreover, “we are convinced that building schools, hospitals, roads, universities and courts are goals attainable by the international effort”.
Further examining the question of security, Frattini reminded his listeners that since September 11 2001 the nature of the threat “has changed from that of the cold war, which was easier to grasp, to one that is more global and multi-faceted. The threat today consists of a network of potentially interconnected factors of instability: terrorism, drug trafficking, the trafficking of people, organised crime, nuclear proliferation”.
Frattini mentioned an area that comes top of the list of Italy’s concerns. “The arc of instability sweeping from the Horn of Africa to Yemen casts a worrying shadow over international security”, he said. In this area, the picture “seems to be characterised by the co-existence of all those critical phenomena that threaten today’s world”. The presence of a failed state, Somalia; the spread of extremist groups that claim to be inspired by Islam; the not always transparent or collaborative role played by neighbouring countries; the success of piracy; the secessionist pressures in Sudan and Yemen and the worrying scenario of systematic violations of human rights.
The solutions, says Frattini, should be arrived at through “coordinated strategies” between the main global actors and “support for the institution-building and internal political reconciliation processes. Critical situations should not be treated in isolation from their surrounding reality but as aspects of a regional framework and with the imperative of restoring dialogue to the centre of international action”. Italy, the Minister pointed out, is in the front line “in keeping the international community’s attention keenly focused on Somalia and awakening the countries in the area to the situation […] But more input from Europe is needed, starting with a special envoy in the area”.