The conclusions of the Bonn international conference on Afghanistan, the transition in Libya, both key issues in the OSCE Ministerial at Vilnius, as well as the dialogue with Russia in the context of the NATO-Russia Council. These are the topics on the agenda for the NATO Ministerial taking place on 7 and 8 December in Brussels. The Ministerial will also review a number of operations in which the Alliance is engaged: from training activity in Iraq to the situation in northern Kosovo.
The goal of the Alliance countries, including after the military withdrawal in 2014, is to go on supporting Afghanistan at both the civil and economic levels, as indicated by the recent international conference in Bonn. Kabul, for its part, will have to continue along the path of reforms in the fields of governance, transparency and human rights. Italy will continue to play its part and will develop a series of cooperation instruments to establish a “new long-term partnership agreement”.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu has pointed out that the costs of the mission conducted under the United Nations mandate will be covered by the allies. In no way will Libya be required to meet this burden. The Foreign Ministers are ready to discuss any application by Libya to join the Alliance’s cooperation fora with the countries of the Mediterranean region, such as the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
The NATO force in Kosovo has on several occasions invited the Serbs to remove the road blocks erected in northern Kosovo prior to the Belgrade-Pristina agreement mediated by the EU on shared control of the northern border. The agreement should now relieve the sharp tensions in the region while at the same time rekindling Serbia’s hopes of obtaining EU candidate status at the European summit of 9 December 2011. Italy fully supports Serbia’s EU integration, a step that is not just in Serbia’s interest but that of Italy and indeed all the countries of Europe.
THE DIALOGUE WITH RUSSIA
The dialogue with Russia will be the focus of the NATO-Russia Council, which will also be discussing the NATO programme to create an anti-missile shield in Europe. NATO’s missile defence system “is not directed against Russia”, according to NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Two years ago, at the Lisbon Summit, NATO and Russia signed a non-aggression pact and laid the foundations for collaboration against new defence challenges, including the missile threat.
Taking part in the meeting will be the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergej Lavrov, with whom Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi had a conversation in the margins of the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan. During their cordial meeting, Terzi reminded his Russian colleague of the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries. He underscored the Italian government’s intention to “continue in full the dialogue with Russia, a dialogue based on sound foundations and an extremely rich bilateral agenda”. Terzi and Lavrov also addressed multilateral issues of common interest
Foremost of these is European security. On this subject, Minister Terzi reiterated “the utmost importance of Russia, which Italy considers to be a vital pillar for international security and that of the continent”. The Foreign Minister noted the importance of fully exploiting the extraordinary potential of the NATO-RUSSIA Council, in its role as a vital instrument to address key international security issues in a coordinated and agreed manner.