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Cablegate: Italian Lower House Set to Approve Funding For

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 000936

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR PREL PGOV MOPS EAID MCAP IZ IT AFGHANISTAN IRAQI FREEDOM
SUBJECT: ITALIAN LOWER HOUSE SET TO APPROVE FUNDING FOR
MILITARY MISSIONS ABROAD

REFTEL: ROME 638

1.(U) SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

2. (U) ON MARCH 10, THE ITALIAN CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES (THE
LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT) IS EXPECTED TO APPROVE THE
GOVERNMENT DECREE EXTENDING UNTIL JUNE 30, 2004, FUNDING
FOR ITALY'S PARTICIPATION IN ALL THE MILITARY MISSIONS IN
WHICH IT IS ENGAGED ABROAD, INCLUDING IRAQ. (THE
OPPOSITION HAS PUT FORWARD NUMEROUS AMENDMENTS AS A
DELAYING TACTIC, SO THE EXACT TIMING OF THE VOTE IS
UNPREDICTABLE.) THE CHAMBER WILL LIKELY APPROVE THE SAME
TEXT IT RECEIVED FROM THE SENATE, BUT MAY MAKE LIMITED, NON-
CRITICAL CHANGES. IN THAT EVENT, THE DECREE WOULD HAVE TO
GO BACK TO THE SENATE FOR FINAL APPROVAL; WE WOULD STILL
EXPECT POSITIVE ACTION BEFORE IT EXPIRES ON MARCH 22. (THE
SENATE APPROVED THE ORIGINAL DECREE ON FEBRUARY 18; SEE
REFTEL.) THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE DECREE WILL BE
APPROVED WITH THE SOLID VOTES OF THE CENTER-RIGHT GOVERNING
MAJORITY.

3. (SBU) WITH THE OUTCOME A FOREGONE CONCLUSION, THE ONLY
SUSPENSE IN THE RUN-UP TO THE VOTE HAS BEEN ON HOW MORE
MODERATE OPPOSITION ELEMENTS WOULD POSITION THEMSELVES.
THE GREENS, COMMUNIST RENEWAL (RC), AND THE ITALIAN
COMMUNISTS (PDCI) WILL VOTE AGAINST; THEIR OPPOSITION TO
ANYTHING TOUCHING THE U.S.-LED WAR IN IRAQ IS UNSHAKABLE.
BUT THE VOTE BROUGHT CONSTERNATION TO THE MORE CENTRIST,
NEWLY-CREATED COALITION OF THE DEMOCRATS OF THE LEFT (DS),
ITALIAN SOCIALISTS (SDI) AND THE DAISY, JOINED TOGETHER
UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT PRODI IN
ADVANCE OF JUNE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND LOCAL ELECTIONS.
WHILE STILL IN THE PROCESS OF VAUNTING ITS NEW "UNITY," THE
COALITION WAS CONFRONTED WITH AN ISSUE ON WHICH THE DS
COULD NOT EVEN AGREE INTERNALLY. IN THE END, THE DS-SDI-
DAISY "TRICYCLE" DECIDED NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE VOTE,
THE SAME ACTION IT TOOK IN THE SENATE. IT IS AN AGREEMENT
LIKELY TO BE HONORED IN THE BREACH, HOWEVER. AT A MINIMUM,
MUCH OF THE DS' FAR-LEFT "CORRENTONE" WILL VOTE AGAINST.
SIMILARLY, SOME OF THE "TRICYCLE'S" MORE MODERATE ELEMENTS
MAY VOTE IN FAVOR.

4. (SBU) OF ALL THE MISSIONS COVERED IN THE DECREE,
CONTROVERSY CONCERNED ONLY THE ONE IN IRAQ. PRINCIPAL
ELEMENTS OF THE CENTER-LEFT SAY THEY COULD ONLY AGREE TO
EXTEND THE ITALIAN MISSION TO IRAQ IF, AS DS LEADER FASSINO
RECENTLY STATED IN A PRESS INTERVIEW, "SOMETHING REALLY
CHANGES" BY THE END OF JUNE -- THE UN ASSUMES A "REAL"
LEADING ROLE, AN IRAQI CONSTITUTION IS APPROVED, ELECTIONS
ARE HELD, AND A FIRM DATE FOR THE PASSAGE OF POWERS TO THE
IRAQIS IS SET. THE "TRICYCLE" IS NOT PREOCCUPIED BY THE
FACT THAT MOST OF THESE ELEMENTS HAVE BEEN MET. NOT VOTING
AT ALL AND NOT FORMALLY ABSTAINING, THEY SUGGEST, IS A
SIGNAL OF DISAPPROVAL TO THE GOVERNMENT WHILE STILL SHOWING
SUPPORT FOR ITALIAN TROOPS INVOLVED IN THE VARIOUS MILITARY
EFFORTS ABROAD. (COMMENT: IT IS NOT CLEAR THAT THE
ELECTORATE UNDERSTANDS THIS PHILOSOPHY. END COMMENT.)

5. (U) SEE REFTEL FOR A BREAK-DOWN ON DOLLAR ALLOCATIONS
TO DIFFERENT MISSIONS, AS WELL AS A LIST OF THE MILITARY,
CIVILIAN, AND POLICE MISSIONS FOR WHICH FUNDING IS EXPECTED
TO BE EXTENDED.

6. (U) CPA BAGHDAD MINIMIZE CONSIDERED.
SEMBLER

NNNN
2004ROME00936 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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