30 Maggio 2006

Italy pledges commitment to Iraq

Fonte: cnn.com - Reuters

NASSIRIYA, Iraq — Italy will redouble its efforts to help the reconstruction of Iraq even after withdrawing its troops this year, new Defense Minister Arturo Parisi said.

“The withdrawal does not mean we are turning our back on the Iraqis,” Parisi said Tuesday during his first visit to Italy’s military contingent in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya.

“Italy’s commitment will proceed through strengthened political, civil and humanitarian assistance, and support for (Iraq’s) institutions and the reconstruction of the country.”

However, Parisi said it was too early to say whether Italy would keep civilians in Iraq after its soldiers had left.

Italy’s center-left Prime Minister Romano Prodi, who took office this month, has vowed to live up to campaign promises for a swift pull-out of Italy’s military presence of around 2,600 troops. He recently called the Iraq war a “grave error”.

Prodi is working on a timetable for withdrawal which will be discussed by the cabinet in the next few weeks. The schedule is expected to speed up the plan of his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi to end the Iraq mission by the end of the year.