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Cablegate: Investing in Italian Support for Nato:

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: ROME 3897

1. (U) Summary. On December 8-10, five Italian foreign
affairs advisors to government and opposition political
parties took part in a highly successful "Opinion-Makers"
NATO tour with follow-on to Afghanistan. In addition to
educating Italian policymakers about NATO, the tour's purpose
was to deepen support for Italy,s participation in ISAF and
its commitment to Afghan judicial sector reform. The group
came away with a highly positive sense of NATO's mission in
Afghanistan and Italy's important role in that mission. We
believe the tour provided an extremely valuable experience to
these up-and-coming policymakers, and should contribute to
maintaining strong pro-NATO sentiment among security policy
specialists on both sides of the Italian political spectrum
in the years ahead. End Summary.

2. (U) For tour participants, Embassy Rome PA and Pol offices
selected foreign policy advisors likely to influence Italian
political parties, decisions on NATO issues following the
April 2006 parliamentary elections. The participants were
from both center-right and center-left parties. Rome Embassy
Polmiloff along with Rome ODC chief accompanied the tour.
Italian participants included:

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-- Germano Dottori, Foreign Affairs Advisor, Northern League
(led by Umberto Bossi)

-- Beatrice Lorenzin, Chief of Cabinet to Undersecretary
Paolo Bonaiuti, Forza Italia (led by Silvio Berlusconi)

-- Alessia Mosca, Foreign Affairs Advisor to former Minister
Enrico Letta, Daisy Party (led by Francesco Rutelli)

-- Paolo Quercia, Counselor to Deputy Minister for Productive
Activities Adolfo Urso, National Alliance (led by Gianfranco

-- Angelantonio Rosato, Foreign Affairs Advisor, NOMISMA
Research Center (affiliated with center-left leader Romano

3. (U) In planning the Afghanistan leg of the trip, Embassy
Rome received not only political approval but also extensive
programming and logistical support from Italian authorities,
including the Prime Minister's office, MFA, and MOD. Embassy
Kabul provided essential and much appreciated logistical,
security, and program assistance.

4. (U) In Kabul, ISAF Commander LTG Mauro del Vecchio briefed
the group on NATO's present and future in Afghanistan.
Italian Ambassador Ettore Sequi and Justice Sector
Coordinator Ambassador Jolanda Brunetti discussed judicial
sector and other civil sector reconstruction efforts. At
Embassy Kabul, the group met Ambassador Ronald Neuman and
Afghan civil sector reformers. In Herat, Provincial
Reconstruction Team (PRT) Commander BG Umberto Rossi guided
the group through the Italian PRT and the Italian-supported
Forward Support Base. Italian and NATO military air provided
transport in and out of Afghanistan, as well as between Kabul
and Herat.

5. (U) USNATO coordinated a fine two-day NATO Tour program of
briefings at NATO HQ, including by senior US officials, JFC
Brunssum, and USEU.

6. (U) Italian tour participants on both the left and right
came away from the trip expressing strong enthusiasm for
NATO's mission in Afghanistan, and particularly for Italy
continuing its important role in ISAF and civil sector

7. (SBU) Comment: With Italian national elections coming up,
this experience shows how NATO tours can be used to promote
an ally's political commitment to a sensitive overseas
military mission. Whether Berlusconi or Prodi prevails in
April 2006, the major Italian political parties are likely to
seek council from these five tour participants in regard to
NATO and especially Afghanistan. We have good reason to
expect that all participants, on the left as much as the
right, will be well-informed advocates, in public as well as
backroom policy debates, for robust Italian participation in
ISAF and Afghanistan justice sector reform, as well as for
NATO action beyond Europe. The trip also reinforced the
Embassy's links with them. The Ambassador plans to invite
them to brief him on their trip in the New Year. End Comment.

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