Fa fede solo il discorso effettivamente pronunciato.
The stability achieved in South-eastern Europe after the conflicts of the 1990s is one of the most outstanding results of the International Community in the past two decades. This result was reached not only thanks to the NATO intervention in 1999 and the post-conflict work of the EU, the UN and its agencies.
It was attained especially due to the clear European and Atlantic perspective that was given to all the Countries of the region. Slovenia, Croatia and Albania have become NATO members; the South-eastern European States have become security providers in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The upcoming accession of Croatia to the European Union fits the pattern, and is pleasantly unsurprising.
Other countries in the region must move ahead with the same determination. And I nave heard this determination in the words of the Macedonian President Georgi Ivanov’s, meaning a virtuous balance of rooted coexistence. I sincerely hope that, with our support, this country will
become ever closer to the Euro-Atlantic family in 2013.
Success stories are built around converging interests and shared values.
That is why Italy considers Turkey a key partner. We are well aware of the added value that Ankara can deliver in terms of security, stability, prosperity, and as a highly relevant actor on the Euro-Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. As we support Turkey’s path towards membership of the EU, we cannot afford to wait for its accession to fully exploit potential areas of cooperation.
I would like to make a few brief remarks on the state of the so-called protracted conflicts in the region:
With regard to Transnistria, resumed negotiations led to further progress through the existing 5+2 format, so that at the Dublin OSCE Ministerial Council we agreed upon a joint Declaration.
We are hopeful that progress towards a new path of co-operation between Georgia and Russia too will be as swift as possible. The EU and Italy firmly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. We value the steps taken in the framework of the Geneva Discussions, in the belief that it remains the only viable option. All its participants should keep up their work towards sustainable security arrangements. A practical fundamental step to be taken is the re-activation of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Gali.
Moscow and Tbilisi seem to have recently injected new substance in their political dialogue. We hope that this framework can trickle down to more effective technical cooperation on trade, social, cultural and transport issues.
Finally, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh remains worrisome. A solution to the conflict would be a historic contribution to peace and security in Europe. It would allow Azerbaijan and Armenia to profit from political and economic stability. Italy supports a solution based upon the Madrid principles, updated and strengthened during the 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila. It is pivotal for both Azerbaijan and Armenia to refrain from a rhetoric of hostility. Italy and its EU partners are ready, in coordination with the parties, to cooperate in implementing confidence-building measures.
In looking at security in the Western Balkans, the EU and the US share the same enduring commitment. The EU has taken a strong lead for security in this area. An example of this is the 1996 Florence Agreement, which successfully established an arms reduction and verification regime between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and later Montenegro, under the auspices of the OSCE.
Next year, management of the Dayton Article IV Process established in Florence will be fully transferred to the State Parties, another crucial step towards their full ownership in matters of security and defence.
It is worth noting that the Florence Agreement was based on the principles of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. It was a legally binding Confidence and Security Building Measure and a “miniature CFE”. It has proven – along the years – the potential and added value of conventional arms control regimes in crisis areas.
Furthermore, we should consider the benefits stemming fromo better regulation in conventional weapons. Illicit trafficking and the proliferation of conventional weapons seriously hamper stabilization efforts. Italy is a strong supporter of a UN Arms Trade Treaty. Promoting transparency of arms flows and preventing diversion of legal arms to illicit networks would greatly contribute to the security of strategic regions, such as the Caucasus. In July 2012 we worked hard on a legally binding agreement. We look forward to the final conference next March in New York.
We are all familiar with the paralysis of the CFE. I will not dwell on it. But I am convinced that Europe still badly needs a conventional arms control regime. A credible regime must be relaunched and, in a way, reinvented: First, to stabilize simmering conflicts. Secondly, to reflect the changing realities in conventional weapons stockpiles and technologies. And finally, to overcome the relics of the block-to-block approach.
An effective arms control regime should also help defusing attempts to new arms races in Southern Caucasus, normalizing relations between stakeholders in the region and de-escalating tensions over protracted conflicts. Simmering regional crises accentuate the unpredictability and compromise the region’s military balance.
A new regime should be inspired by the principles of transparency, accountability and reciprocity. To address new and future challenges sub-regional agreements could effectively interact within the general framework. All that could be very advantageous in order to streamline defense budgets and optimize resources.
I would like to conclude with a call to engage in a constructive reflection that will generate a comprehensive platform for disarmament, conventional arms control and CSBMs: a major security challenges of 21st century Europe. Italy is ready.