Italian Populists Lead Parliamentary Push to Alter NATO Ties
Italy’s Five Star Movement party has proposed a way of altering how the country participates in NATO, party member Manlio Di Stefano told Sputnik Italy.
In an interview with Sputnik Italy, Manlio Di Stefano, a parliamentary deputy from the country’s populist Five Star Movement, said that the party has proposed a bill which would alter the way in which Italy participates in NATO. The interview came amid the Italian government efforts to prevent the country’s parliament from altering Italy’s relationship with NATO.
In 2008, 600,000 people signed a petition to review Rome’s stance on the alliance, but the government still refuses to heed their demands.
Di Stefano said that the Five Star Movement’s proposal urges the parliament to once again vote on all decisions related to the use of military bases or transportation of weapons within Italy.
“We want all this regulated by parliament, not just the government alone. It is very important to move in this direction in order to ensure the protection of the environment and the health of citizens, first of all in areas where a NATO contingent is based. They include Sardinia, Sicily, Dal Molin base, Camp Darby and others,” he said.
Apart from risks related to health and the environment, there is also a nuclear threat, Di Stefano said, adding that many non-NATO members have already sent their response systems to the Aviano and Ghedi bases, where 90 nuclear bombs are deployed.
“It seems obvious that Russia may also have a similar response system aimed at Italy, and I think that it is normal. But we do not need these risks. Even one B61-12 bomb dropped on our territory will be enough to destroy the whole country,” he added.
Di Stefano said that it’s necessary to clarify that Italy withdrawing from NATO is out of question because it could “destabilize the entire European system.”
“We only call for a change in the format of our participation in NATO, and it is quite another thing. Article 12 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization stipulates that any NATO member can demand the review of the contract,” he said.
He added that the Five Star Movement’s bill would “normalize the decision-making procedures, as well as to introduce a vote on these decisions.”
Late last month, about 1,000 protesters participated in a demonstration against NATO bases in the Italian city of Vicenza.
“We are standing against the continued existence of the Dal Molin NATO base, we want to use the territory for the construction of the so-called Peace Park,” one of the organizers said.
The march was headed by the No Dal Molin Movement, which opposes US airbases located in the north of the city. The protesters carried a huge banner, saying “Protection of land for a future without military bases.”
The demonstration was sanctioned by local authorities and was accompanied by a police escort. Italy has been a member of NATO since April 4, 1949.
Italy’s attitude toward NATO airbases soured in 1998, when a US Marine Corps prowler aircraft clipped the cable of a cable car at a ski resort in the Italian Alps, resulting in 20 deaths. Although Italian prosecutors initially demanded that the four crew members stand trial for involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide in Italy, an Italian court recognized that NATO treaties gave jurisdiction to US military courts.
The four were acquitted after a brief trial in North Carolina, according to The Independent, outraging the European public.
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