Italian President stresses need for strategy centered on protecting Afghan people and enhancing Afghan ownership

  • 02 Mar. 2010 -
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  • Last updated: 03 Mar. 2010 11:51

President of the Republic of Italy Giorgio Napolitano visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels on 2 March 2010. He met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and addressed the North Atlantic Council.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomes Italian President Giorgio Napolitano

During the visit, President Napolitano said: “We cannot feel secure at home when States and institutions collapse in other parts of the world, when violent extremism and terrorism find safe havens. That is true looking at all new threats to our security arising from an interconnected and changing world.”

Afghanistan is at a turning point,” he said. “It is a major test for the Alliance. Let there be no doubt about Italy’s commitment to ISAF and to the building of the Afghan nation. We have to stay within the course set by President Obama in his speech last December first, with a strategy centred on protecting the population, enhancing Afghan ownership, training the army and police and seeking regional cooperation.”

The Secretary General of NATO remarked: "I would like to thank the Italian Government for its determination. The recent decision of your Government to send 1 100 additional troops and trainers in 2010 is a testimony to Italy’s strong solidarity with the Afghan people and with NATO.

“Italy is playing a very important role on the ground, in particular in the West, in Herat, and training and mentoring capability for both the Afghan National Army and Police. Let me also commend the Italian troops’ “human approach”, their focus on performing military tasks while at the same time interacting with the local community. That is the essence of our new population-centric approach."